Monday, September 19, 2011

Tomato Soup and Cheddar-Dill Scones

This tomato soup is otherwise known as perfect tomato soup and I am giving you the recipe (however, DO use your own judgement if you try my recipe, because I'm not 100% confident in my recipe-writing skills).  If you have a vitamix, well, your soup might reach “velvety” status, and if you remove the seeds, well, it might be silkier then too, but in a normal blender and without removing the seeds you can have a tomato soup that easily converts you from Campbells (though I am not dissing Campbell’s tomato soup).

I served our soup with my little spin on grilled cheese for the night – warm, fresh-baked cheddar dill scones.
These were a rare treat, since I don’t cook or bake with cheese, much less epic proportions of butter, cream, and white flour, that often.  I have to add that the scones were delicious, but I’ve made many a healthier version of baked goods that tasted just as good.  Either way, we really enjoyed this simple but yummy dinner!

Way-Better-Than-Campbell's Tomato Soup

1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp margarine
1 large onion (or 2 small), diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
½ bell pepper (any color), diced
1 carrot, diced
8 sage leaves, chopped finely
Kosher Salt
½ cup wine (red or white)
10 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
4 large tomatoes, blanched and skins removed, chopped
1 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes, broken up in pot with spoon
2 cups homemade vegetable broth (amount may vary according to liquid in tomatoes)
big handful fresh parsley
fresh ground black pepper

1. Heat the olive oil and margarine in a large pot over medium-low heat, and begin caramelizing your onions with a generous sprinkle of kosher salt. This should take about 20 minutes, and they will be golden.  (If they start to stick, turn the heat down a little.)

2. Add the celery, bell pepper, carrots, garlic, and sage to the pot, with another sprinkle of kosher salt.  Cook until soft, about 15 minutes. (if they are sticking or browning because the pot is too dry, you can add a tablespoon of broth, but try to coax them into cooking on their own in the remaining oil and with their natural juices – you can do this by not stirring unless you absolutely have to and making sure the heat isn’t too high or too low.)

3. Deglaze the pot with the white wine and let the vegetables absorb most of it. Meanwhile, add the peppercorns and bay leaf.

4. Add your fresh and canned tomatoes. Add the broth, using your judgment as to how much, depending on how much liquid the tomatoes contained and how thin/thick you’d like the soup to be.  (It will thicken slightly as it cooks, but you’ll be cooking quickly and lid-on, so it won’t reduce much.)

5. Bring to a boil, reduce to low, cover and simmer until the tomatoes are cooked to your liking (for me, about 20 minutes).

6. When the soup is cooked, remove the bay leaf.  Add the fresh parsley.  Puree the soup in batches in the blender until smooth.  Return to the pot, season to taste with ground black pepper and more kosher salt, and simmer for a couple of minutes just to meld.

 7. Garnish with more fresh chopped parsley and serve with garlic toast, grilled sandwiches, or as I did, with Ina Garten’s cheddar dill scones.

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