Thursday, February 18, 2010

Creamy Tomato Soup

I adore creamy tomato soup - okay, who doesn't? Canned tomato soups never seem to hit the spot, however; they're tinny and lack flavor. And cream of tomato soup is extremely easy to make at home! In fact, I nearly always have the ingredients around, so it's a recipe I can whip up on a whim.
I love pairing it with grilled cheese, and if I'm feeling even more indulgent, Goldfish crackers to sprinkle on top. You can also flavor the soup however you like, when you start from the basic recipe - you can add curry or garam masala to give it an Indian flair, or basil and oregano for an Italian flavor. I normally add either Penzey's Tuscan Sunset or Pizza Seasoning because they're quick, tasty, and readily available for me. Adding cheese boosts flavor and protein content, and you can stir in any vegetable you'd like as well - I love spinach in it.

This time around I halved the recipe, added 2 tsp Italian seasoning, 2 oz of Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of chopped baby spinach. I also used Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes - they give a lot more flavor than regular canned tomatoes. You can use tomato sauce in place of chopped tomatoes for a smoother texture.

Give this a try the next time you're in the mood for tomato soup and grilled cheese, and I promise you'll never go back to canned.

Creamy Tomato Soup

Serves 4 as a side dish to a sandwich or a salad, 2 as a main dish

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
4 cups of milk
28 ounce can of chopped tomatoes, pureed
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: additional seasonings such as curry powder, garam masala, basil, oregano, Parmesan, cheddar, smoked salt, cumin, cayenne pepper - the options are endless.

Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, and whisk in flour when the butter has melted. Allow to cook for one minute, then slowly pour in milk while continuing to whisk.

Allow to thicken, approximately five minutes, then stir in tomatoes and optional seasonings, and cook for an additional five minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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