Creamy Tomato Soup

Tomato soup of any kind is such a comfort food. It makes me think of childhood, and grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s simple, rich and full of flavor, and just makes you feel warm and fuzzy on a cold winter’s night.

I have been making soup for quite a few years now, and I don’t mean this to sound snobbish (I really mean it), but ever since I started making my own, I just can’t bring myself to eat any sort of soup out of a can. I can’t make that sound polite can I? There’s nothing wrong with it. I use cans for all sorts of things. In fact, I use cans of diced tomatoes in this very soup! But I just can’t open up a can of tomato soup and heat it up and like it anymore. I’m now ruined for life.

But if you put my soup-snobbery aside, can I try to convince you that it is so incredibly easy to make yourself? Like, really, really easy. This recipe is half from scratch, half from canned items. It’s absolutely the perfect soup to start with if you’ve never made one yourself. Let me prove it to you!

Ingredients:

1 stick of salted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 14.5oz cans of diced tomatoes
1 64oz container of pure tomato juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 bay leaves (to be removed after simmering)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
½ cup cooking sherry (optional)
½ cup heavy cream
3-4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions:

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat and melt butter. Add in the diced onion, carrots and celery and cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes until translucent.

Add in the tomato paste and stir to coat vegetables. Pour in 2 cans of diced tomatoes, then the large container of tomato juice. Stir to incorporate. Add in sugar and combine.

Add in the oregano, parsley and 2 bay leaves and stir to incorporate. When the soup is at a gentle boil, put the lid on the pot and simmer for 30 minutes on medium-low heat.

After 30 minutes, find and remove the bay leaves. Take an immersion blender and completely blend the soup until totally smooth. Add in the cooking sherry, and then the heavy cream. Let the soup continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes.

Finish with freshly chopped basil leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot and enjoy.

(Note: this is a large recipe, serving 10-12, or great for portioning out and freezing in freezer containers)

Here’s how it turns out:

I heated up my 12 quart dutch oven and melted my butter. Then threw in all my diced up veggies.

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Let those cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat and then add in the tomato paste. Stir to completely combine it into the veggies.

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Then pour in your two cans of diced tomatoes.

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And then your container of tomato juice. Now put in your sugar. This helps to offset some of the acidity. Combine completely.

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Now let’s add in some flavors! Put your two bay leaves in there as well as the oregano and parsley. Feel free to add/remove whatever you think best here for what you like. Stir all that in and then let it come to a gentle boil and put the lid on. Let it simmer on a lower temperature for about 30 minutes.

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After half an hour, take the lid off and get out your immersion blender. Blend it up until it’s completely smooth.

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We have a velvety smooth soup now, but it’s not time to stop yet. I add in a half cup of cooking sherry. You can add more or less, or not use it at all. It does give a wonderful flavor however. You should taste it for the flavor and see if you need more.

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Then let’s make it extra creamy and add in our heavy cream. You won’t be sorry.

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Our soup is now a beautiful creamy color and smells oh so wonderful. Let’s throw in the fresh basil and I also wait until this point to add salt and pepper. Although it seems odd to add it at the end, tomato soups are very rich and I find that although I definitely need the salt and pepper, I don’t need much. Taste it and add as you think best. Stir it all up again, let it cook for another couple of minutes, and you should be all done!

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No frills, no gimmicks. Just a plain ol’ bowl of soup. But it’s so wonderful and rich in flavor. It’s full bodied and the heavy cream and cooking sherry give it that extra kick of indulgence. And the basil. If you can use fresh, do so. It tastes amazing.

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Also, this can be a very healthy soup. Instead of the butter, you could start out by using olive oil, and you could skip the sherry and heavy cream. Obviously you won’t have as rich of a soup, but it would still taste great and be much lighter and less fat.

Another great healthy option (as opposed to a grilled cheese sandwich or bread) to go alongside this soup is a healthy, crispy eggplant bruschetta! These two are best friends, and play very nicely together at suppertime.

Give making your own soup a try. I promise that you won’t be sorry, and it will be really hard to open up a can of Campbell’s once you do!

– The Homesteaders Wife

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