Thursday, November 8, 2012

Easy and Decadent Homemade Tomato Soup

I have had a lot of recipes flop recently, which has attributed to a month of no blog posts. There's nothing more disappointing than investing several hours of development and execution on a recipe that doesn't quite make the cut. Specifically, 4 1/2 hours (of cooking alone) on a butternut squash lasagna that was "good" but way below my expectations. Siiiigh. On the bright side, this recipe is definitely worth the share. Last month's Bon Appetit featured an amazing spread on this dinner party idea - homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese! They took something so basic and made it upscale and delicious. And who doesn't love this combination?

It's perfect soup weather here in Boston (cue sniffles) so I made a huge batch of soup and had some girlfriends over. Like the article recommended I gathered several different types of cheese, then fried slices of bread on each side and let my friends arrange their own toppings before popping them in the oven. This was much faster than frying each sandwich and allowed for some creativity. If you want to get really fancy throw some meat, veggies or fruits into the mix and discover other unique grilled cheese combos. For tons of awesome, cheesy ideas (or if you simply want to drool some more) check out one of my favorite food porn blogs: Grilled Cheese Social!

Creamy Tomato Soup (from Bon Appetit)
Serves: 8  Prep: 30 minutes  Total: 1 hour, 30 mintues

1/4 cup butter
10 thyme sprigs
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes
2 tsp sugar, divided
1/2 cup heavy cream*
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large pot and add thyme, onion and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes on medium heat or until onion is cooked through. Add tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes. Next, add whole tomatoes with juice, 1 tsp sugar and 8 cups water to the pot and turn heat on high. When the pot reaches a simmer, lower to medium heat and cook for 50-60 minutes or until about one cup or liquid evaporates.
Remove from heat and get rid of thyme sprigs. Puree soup in a food processor in parts and return to pot. Stir in heavy cream and season with salt, pepper and remaining 1 tsp sugar. Simmer for another 15 minutes before serving.

*The original recipe calls for only 1/4 cup heavy cream, but I strongly recommend 1/2 cup to achieve a thicker consistency and richer flavor.


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