I've been desperately wanting to make a decent pot of soup lately, but, for the last few weeks have had zero success. This one, though, is wonderful. My Guatemalan-living, food-loving friend, Rachel, came over the other day to have lunch and watch the The Sound of Music cast reunion on Oprah (i recorded it. such nostalgia. we had a few sniffles over the reality that the movie isn't real life and that Gretel isn't nearly so cute now...but no need to dwell on such things. Julie Andrews is such a classic. i so want to be her.).
For this such occasion I decided I would make this tomato soup recipe I've had on my list to try for a while. I made a nice big batch of it which I've been enjoying over the last several days (it's even better after the first few). I've decided I'm a chunky soup person. Most of the soups I enjoy fall into this category. I love chili, black bean, french onion, gumbo, tortilla, to name a few...all with a good bit of texture. So, naturally, my tomato soup should follow suit. It was suggested that this one be blended in a food processor before eating, but I held off and am so glad I did. The texture is just right--not too thick, not too runny. It's a fairly light soup (especially if you omit the milk/cream), but the tomato chunks make it seem a bit heartier. It's delicious in every way. Rachel and I loved it. I think you will, too.
I also knew I'd need some bread-ish side to accompany the soup (ya gotta have something to dip in it!), so I decided to make the same biscuits Joy the Baker baked with hers (i borrowed both her recipes this time. www.joythebaker.com, that is. she's hilarious and so raw. i love her.). Goat Cheese Biscuits. Yum-my. They were fabulous. I had a healthy portion. I couldn't taste the cheese in them as much as I would have liked, but they were delicious, nonetheless. And, really easy! I actually had never made biscuits before and was delighted at how simple and painless the process was. Delightful, all of it.
serves at least 10, i'd say
adapted slightly from Joy the Baker
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, finely diced (optional, really. didn't make a huge difference to me.)
1-2 cloves minced garlic
course sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
splash of red wine vinegar (around 1 Tablespoon)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 dried bay leaf
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried basil
30 ounces low sodium chicken broth
2 cans (28-ounces each) peeled, crushed/diced tomatoes in juice (with basil, if available...i used 1 can of crushed and 1 diced, though i'm honestly not sure there's a huge difference. the crushed had bigger chunks, i think)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2- 3/4 cup whole milk or cream, optional
6 ounces fresh spinach, optional (Julie gave me the idea to do this. I love it, Julie!)
1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add oil, carrot, onion, and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is translucent and the carrots become softer, a little over 5 minutes.
2. Add the vinegar and stir everything up for another minute or so.
3. Reduce heat to low and stir in flour. Add tomato paste and stir for another minute until well-combined and thickened. Add chicken broth and bay leaf, and stir.
4. Add the tomatoes (juice and all) to the pot, breaking up the bigger tomato chunks with your fingers as desired. Bring to a boil.
5. Stir in Italian seasoning, basil, and sugar, then let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Stir in milk or cream, and spinach. Let simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
makes about 9 biscuits
borrowed from Joy the Baker
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for the pan
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, to top the biscuits
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) goat cheese, crumbled (i used one of the herbed logs sold in stores--yummy.)
1 cup buttermilk
1. Move an oven rack to the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet in the oven to preheat as well.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Using your fingers, incorporate the butter and goat cheese until the flour gets a bit crumbly (Joy says it should get pebbly. Mine didn't really, but turned out fine.).
3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk. With a fork, mix together the buttermilk and flour until all of the dry flour is incorporated.
4. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and set aside.
5. Remove the cast iron from the oven and place one tablespoon of butter in it, spreading it around to grease the entire pan, including the sides.
6. Spoon the batter, by the 1/4-cup into the hot skillet. It's okay for the biscuits to touch. They're supposed to. :) Brush them with the melted butter.
7. Bake for 14-16 minutes, until slightly golden in color, and remove from the oven. Let sit for a couple minutes before serving warm.