Friday, August 28, 2009

Dinner, Day 4: Tomato Soup (for the soul)

As I mentioned previously, I'm feeling extraordinarily under the weather. Enough that all I've done over the last 24 hours is sit at the computer or in front of the tv. Okay, that's not true. I took the kids to school, picked them up from the stop, made lunch, fixed Em's hair for ballet, cleaned the kitchen, scrubbed the floor, and worked on my new crochet stitch. And I made tomato soup.

Tomatoes are high in vitamin C. Not as high as oranges, which are crazy-off-the-charts high, but a good source of vitamins C and A with a little fiber to boot.

I was planning on tomato soup with grilled cheese for dinner as a celebration of my son's first day of kindergarten, since he's a grilled cheese fan suddenly. But I was slightly hungry at lunch and nothing - NOTHING - else sounded good enough to ingest except water. So I made tomato soup. I didn't have any chicken stock or vegetable stock on hand, so I cheated by adding a few extra vegetables at the beginning. Also, I had a little less tomatoes than I would have liked and supplemented with a can of chopped tomatoes.

I roasted the tomatoes and carmelized the onions to give the soup some depth. I only added a small amount of milk, so it was not only very healthy but a good soup for me on a sick day. I ate very small bowls of it most of the day and found it very comforting.

We didn't have the grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner. My kind husband whisked the children away as soon as he was home from work to their various activities (ballet, back-to-school night, grocery shopping) and left me alone to lay perfectly still and nearly catch up on Top Chef Masters. And he found some food for them on the way. But I didn't mind at all. Now I have more soup leftover for today. Which I am happy to consume.

Tomato Soup

4 lbs. tomatoes (or at least 2; you can supplement with good, canned diced tomatoes)
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, thinly chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 T. butter, room temperature
1 1/2 T. flour
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 c. milk

Turn the broiler on in the oven and set the rack six inches below it.

Spray a sheet pan with non-stick spray. Core the fresh tomatoes (not as essential with Romas) and spread them out on the pan. Broil on both sides until the skins are blackened. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

In a large saucepan (larger is better so it doesn't spit at you), sauté the onion and a couple of pinches of salt in 2 T. butter for about 5 minutes over medium high heat. (Adding the salt immediately with the onion helps to bring out the sugars in the onion, which will help it to carmelize faster.) Add the carrot and celery and continue to cook until the onions are starting to brown, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 5 more minutes, until they're more thoroughly browned but not burning. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

Place all of the contents of the saucepan in the blender. If you're supplementing with canned tomatoes, add a 15-oz. can, juice and all, along with the onion mixture to the blender. If you're not supplementing, add a tomato or two, removing the skins first. Blend until smooth, then return to the saucepan.

Remove the skins from the tomatoes and purée the tomatoes, in two batches, in the blender. Add to the saucepan. Stir everything together and return to heat. Add 1 cup of water and leaves from the thyme sprigs. Bring to a simmer and let it cook for about 5 minutes.

Stir together the remaining 2 T. room temperature butter and flour to make a beurre manié. Stir the beurre manié into the soup and continue stirring as the soup thickens slightly. Stir the milk into the soup and remove the pan from the heat. If you prefer a thinner soup, you can add more milk.

Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.

You can, of course, strain the soup if you don't like the tomato seeds in there. It wasn't a big deal to me, and straining would take a while. Plus I really liked the consistency of the soup, which would smooth out more upon straining. Removing the skins before puréeing the soup takes away the biggest reason to strain, but use your own judgment.

Also, one or two tablespoons of chipotle purée would be a great addition if you're not serving it to spicy-sensitive kids.

No comments: