Monday, January 18, 2010

tomato soup

creamy tomato soup with a cheerful sprig of parsley

Generally, I am not that crazy about tomato soup. I don't dislike it, but it isn't something that I really get all that excited about most of the time. However, even though I didn't really grow up eating a lot of tomato soup, it still has those homey comforting connotations that are particularly attractive in wintertime. So, when I stumbled upon this America's Test Kitchen recipe for grilled cheese and tomato soup on the Smitten Kitchen blog, which I've been all about this week, it suddenly became the perfect thing to make for dinner.

I would definitely recommend this recipe. It had a really deep smokey flavor, a product of de-seeding and oven roasting the canned canned tomatoes with a little salt, pepper and olive oil until all the liquid evaporates. The recipe called for sprinkling them with brown sugar, but I decided not to because I've always been kind of grossed out by adding sugar to tomato sauce, and I'm not the only one.

Other than that, I pretty much followed the recipe as it was written: chopped up shallots or onions, an cooked them for a bit in butter with tomato paste. Added a spoonful or two of flour, cooked that off, and then gradually added ice cubes of my frozen stock, and then the tomatoes and the extra juices, which I strained to remove the seeds. After that cooked for awhile, Nathan blended it all up with the immersion blender, and then I added the cream, the brandy, some salt, cayenne and cracked black pepper. This could easily be gluten free if you just used the right flour!

While this was going on I made up the buttered grilled cheese sandwiches in the cast iron skillet. Normally, I "grill" my cheese sandwiches in the toaster oven, without butter, but if I was doing the classic soup and sandwich combo, I was going to do it right. Also, Nathan would have pitched a fit. As it was he was skeptical of my choice of Italian bread, and kept asking charming lovely little questions like, "have you ever MADE grilled cheese before?" Shut up Nathan.

Despite his hating, I fried up those babies just fine, and let me tell you, they were delicious dipped in that tomato soup. We served them with some vinegary tomato pasty cabbage, but Nathan took the lead on that one so I'll let him write that one up later.

Here's a shot of our soup on my kitchen table to close with.

kitchen table in the bronx

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