tomato soup on halloween

halloween is always kind of crazy at 1918 quincy street. i usually work a full day, then come home to rush the kids into their costumes so we can go trick o' treating before it gets too late/too dark/too cold. after asking strangers for candy while dressed in disguises (this really is quite strange, isn't it?), we come home and the kids are wired in anticipation of the sugar-coma. usually by now, i've realized it's 7pm and no one has had any semblance of a dinner.
this year, i did the smart thing. i took halloween off from work as a "personal holiday" and had the time to cook a batch of soup that would be ready and waiting for us when we were done asking strangers for candy.

so here it is, my tomato soup recipe, based loosely on this michael chiarello recipe (men who cook, eh ladies?!). maybe it's sexist, but i think recipes written by men are almost always better. maybe i just have a man's palate? perhaps... i like big hoppy beers, dark black coffee, earthy-whiskey, meat on the bone... anyways, where were we? oh yes. my tomato soup. here you go.

recipe: tomato soup

to roast the tomatoes:
1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes, drained and juice reserved
3-4 whole garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

to assemble the soup:
aforementioned roasted tomatoes (we'll get there in a second)
a couple Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 small or 1 large chopped yellow onion
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup of chopped carrots
2 Tablespoons of italian seasoning
salt and pepper
1 cup chicken broth
reserved tomato juice from roasted tomatoes
2 cups v8 vegetable juice
2-3 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup half and half (can omit if you don't want it creamy, or you can use 1 can of full fat coconut milk)

first up, we're gonna roast the tomatoes. turn your oven to 450 degrees, and throw the strained tomatoes onto a rimmed baking sheet. take your garlic cloves and kind of nestle or "burrow" them down into the tomatoes so they aren't exposed. drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. roast for 15-20 minutes, until caramelized.

while the tomatoes are roasting, get a stock pot nice and hot and swirl in a few Tablespoons of evoo. toss in the onion, season with salt and pepper and let 'er cook about two minutes. then add in the carrots and celery and season with the 2 Tablespoons of italian seasoning and some more salt and pepper. let cook for 5-6 minutes, until just starting to soften.

by now, the tomatoes are probably done. go ahead and grab the cookie sheet out of the oven and slide everything from the cookie sheet into the stock pot, including the caramelized brown bits and juices. now add the broth, reserved tomato juice, vegetable juice, bay leaves and a bit more salt and pepper. turn the heat down to low and let simmer forever.

seriously. i forgot it on the stove for probably an hour while i was doing other things and it still tasted amazing. 20-30 minutes would probably suffice though.

after it has simmered and everything is nice and savory and flavorful and soft, go ahead and fish out the bay leaves. if you have an immersion blender, get it out and blend up the soup. if you don't have an immersion blender, then something is seriously wrong with you and you should just use your blender to process the soup in batches. but seriously. this will take you forever and nobody has time for that. just get an immersion blender already.

at this stage of the game, toss in the half and half or cream (if using) and let it simmer again on low. give the soup a taste and see if it needs more salt or pepper or italian seasoning.



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