Would it be cliche to start out the first post in almost two weeks with: “Work has been NUTS!”? Probably, but it’s true. I do love my job, but sometimes I envy those who get to cook and shoot pictures all day. The people that do this kind of stuff professionally. Sadly, I only moonlight as a domestic. And back in the 9-5 life January is the busiest month of the year. However, the recent snow storm that blew through the mid west has brought all that to a screeching halt. The city has, for all intensive purposes, shut down. I got a phone call yesterday morning telling me not to come in to work today…or tomorrow for that matter. Just stay home.
No problemo. Where’s my apron?
Not to say that I’ve been too busy to eat these last two weeks. I finally got the chance to try kale chips for the first time and can add to the consensus that they’re as good as everyone has hyped them to be. I made whole wheat baguettes – my first journey into yeast breads. And revisited a tried and true red lentil soup from Heidi Swanson’s site.
So if you’re stuck inside, reveling in your kitchen this week, like I am, you might have a hearty bowl of soup on your mind, like I did. If so, I offer up this tomato soup for your consideration. In the world of tomato soup there are silky, cream-laden varieties and then there’s this. Bowls where you can still see the flecks of carrots and onions. Other pluses of this recipe: I learned this version back in college when I was teaching 3rd graders how to cook, meaning even if you’re inept in the kitchen you can pull this off, on a weeknight, with your hair on fire. It’s also what I consider a pantry-staples soup. Most folks have the ingredients for this in the fridge/pantry, so it’s unlikely you’ll need to be making any special grocery store trips to pull this together.
Oh, and if you have one, this recipe calls for an immersion blender. You don’t actually need one to make the soup, but if you have an immersion blender you probably have a need to use it. You know, like Tom Cruise has a need for speed…
Hearty Tomato Soup
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small day-old loaf sourdough bread cut into 1″ cubes
- 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large vidalia onion (or other variety) diced
- 2 large carrots coarsely diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme
- 1 quart vegetable stock (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Romano/Gruyere/Mozzarella cheese for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400°F. In large bowl toss bread and olive oil together with your hands. Spread in single layer on a baking sheet and let bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until bread is golden brown on all sides. They may need a toss half way through if you don’t have a convection oven or if they’re baking unevenly.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat and add in the carrot and onion. Let cook until the onion starts to become translucent, adding in the extra Tbsp of olive oil if necessary.
- Turn down the heat to medium and add in your garlic and let cook for about a minute before adding in the tomatoes, juice and all. Turn your heat back up to medium high and bring mixture up to a gentle boil. Add in your thyme and salt and pepper to taste. (Carefully, it’s hot!)
- Using an immersion blender (or by working in batches in a food processor or blender) puree the soup until the texture evens out. You still want to keep some of the texture, but this will keep the soup from being carrots and onion in a tomato broth.
- Slowly add in broth, blending as necessary, until the soup is at your desired consistency. You may not want to add any, you may add the whole quart.
- Dish into bowls and top with cheese and croutons.