It’s the dead of winter, with a windchill in the single digits as I type. So what do I crave when it’s freezing outside? Tomato soup! I’m not talking about the ketchup looking, watery soup….my recipe is a hearty meal that goes perfectly with a grilled cheese sandwich! There’s something about grilled cheese and tomato soup that brings me back to being a child. Of course, I’ve traded the American cheese for a more “adult” sandwich of tomato, basil and mozzarella. (Although Mr. Skrysak always opts for good old Kraft American cheese!)
So what makes this tomato soup better than others? BACON! Not a whole slab of pork, but a few slices of bacon really add a nice salty flavor to the soup. After cooking the bacon, I often skip the butter in the recipe and use the bacon grease to saute the vegetables. (You can either leave the bacon in the soup, or discard it until you are ready to blend, then add it back in)
You may look at this recipe and think, “This is way too difficult”, but I promise, it’s not! The hardest part is dicing up all of the veggies. Once you saute, you simply pour in the broth and add the tomatoes and spices. The key to this soup– let the veggies breathe and softened so they are easy to blend.
For years, I made this soup using a food processor….ladling the soup a little at a time and blending. That was until last year, when I bought an immersion blender. Why didn’t I invest in one sooner?!?!? It’s a fairly inexpensive kitchen gadget and it makes creamy soup in an instant. After the soup is cooked, discard the herbs and start blending the soup right in the pot.
The recipe calls for heavy cream, but I often go for low fat milk. It’s a pretty thick soup thanks to the veggies, so the lighter milk doesn’t seem to thin it out. I hope you enjoy this soup and much as I do. This has turned into one of my favorite winter meals! Would love to hear your thoughts…let me know if you try it!
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3-4 slices bacon, finely chopped
- 1 Spanish onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 3 parsley sprigs
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup heavy cream or low fat milk
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Heat the butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp and most of the fat has rendered, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes.
Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Pour in the broth and add tomatoes. Bring to a boil Add herbs to the pot. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Crumble bacon and add back into soup. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Remove and discard the herbs. Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pot and reheat over medium heat.
Whisk in the heavy cream, salt, and pepper, to taste. Divide among warm soup bowls and serve immediately.
*Adapted from the Food Network