When I check the weather forecast and it says “feels like -6,” I know soup is going to be on the menu. As a child, I didn’t like tomato soup at all. Actually, my tomato product consumption was limited to pasta sauce and ketchup so I probably wasn’t the best one to ask about anything tomato related. Friends would rave about the awesomeness of dipping a grilled cheese sandwich into tomato soup and I’d raise an eyebrow and keep the conversation moving. Adding cream or rice or pasta didn’t do much to change my mind, either. M mentioned liking tomato soup, in that “I’m not asking you to make any, I’m just letting you know I like it in a tone of voice that’s totally asking you to make some” way that eight-year-olds master. She then followed it up with “You can make it homemade, right?”
This is so much better than any tomato soup out of a can. It’s just creamy enough, and that great tomato flavor isn’t hidden by a lot of salt. This really lends itself really well to the addition of rice or pasta (I added orzo to this batch). If you have an immersion blender, this is an incredibly easy recipe. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can let the soup cool for a bit after you’ve simmered it and then put it (carefully) into a blender in small batches until it is smooth. You can add more cream than I did, but I found that the stated amount created exactly the right amount of creaminess for my taste while still allowing the tomato flavor to shine. To add rice or orzo to this, I recommend making the rice or orzo separately and then adding it to the finished soup. I find that when cooking the rice or pasta in a soup, it thickens the soup and makes it more difficult to store any leftovers.
Creamy Tomato Soup
- 1/4 C. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 10 sprigs thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 C. tomato paste
- 2 28-oz. cans whole tomatoes
- 1–2 tsp. sugar, divided
- 1/4 C. (or more) heavy cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, melt the butter.
Add the thyme, onion, and garlic to the butter and cook 10-12 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the tomato paste.
Cook, stirring often for 5-6 minutes, until the tomato paste has started to brown in spots.
Add the tomatoes, juices included, 1 tsp. of the sugar, and 8 cups of water to the pot.
Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a simmer.
Reduce the heat to medium and continue to simmer for 45-55 minutes, until the soup has reduced to about 2 quarts.
Remove the soup from the heat and discard the sprigs of thyme.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until it is smooth (or let the soup cool, then puree the soup in small batches in a blender and return to pot).
Add the cream and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper if desired.
Makes 8 servings.
Source: Alison Roman for Bon Appetit, October 2012