Who does’t love creamy tomato soup (especially with a grilled cheese)? Well, me, when I was a kid. I don’t know what was wrong with me. Now, of course, I understand its power to warm both bodies and souls. This is my recipe for the classic creamy soup, with a few
adaptations improvements. I make this pretty frequently, myself. I live in the Snowbelt, guys.
You will need:
- 3 oz roasted red peppers (or one red bell pepper)*
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 Tbs butter
- 3 Tbs flour
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1/2 of a medium sweet (yellow) onion
- 2 cups milk
- 3 Tbs grated parmesan
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried basil
This recipe feeds about 4.
First, pour your diced tomatoes into a small bowl. Add the baking soda, sugar and salt, and just stir it in. The baking soda and sugar help combat the acidity of the tomatoes. Just leave that to sit on the side for now. Finely chop the half of an onion. You don’t need to worry too much about uniformity or getting it too fine, since it will be blended up later anyway.
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a large pot. Once it’s completely melted, add your chopped onions and sauté for a few minutes until they are soft and translucent. Sprinkle over the flour and mix in. The mixture will probably clump up a bit. Don’t panic. Just stir it around for a minute or two to make sure the raw flour taste is cooked out.
Now you can add the tomato mixture from earlier, along with the 2 cups of milk. I use 2% just because it’s what I drink, but it doesn’t matter much. Of course, the higher the fat, the richer the soup. Make sure any excess oil is drained from the roasted peppers, then add them, along with the garlic powder and basil. If you have fresh parmesan, feel free to grate that in, but the dehydrated plastic tube kind works too if you don’t. Stir all of this in well and let it continue to heat over medium.
Believe it or not, you are minutes away from homemade soup. I know, it doesn’t look especially appetizing yet. But all that is left to do is puree it to a beautiful smooth consistency.
I am greatly entertained while using my immersion blender for this, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry. Just carefully pour or ladle your soup into a food processor and puree until smooth. Now, a word of caution. I used my food processor for this before I had the immersion blender, and I did have some issues with hot soup seeping out of the seam at the lid. So if your food processor is tiny and dumb like mine, please be careful. Just do it in small batches.
Congratulations! You now have creamy tomato soup without having to cook it all day. Today I made a double batch, and it still easily fit in my large soup pot. You can also make it to freeze in gallon plastic bags.
And what is tomato soup without grilled cheese? I highly recommend using artisan bread, not cheap white bread. Have some respect, people. I usually use white cheddar for this, but you could use whatever you like. I also add cream cheese in all of my grilled cheese sandwiches, because it’s awesome.
*If roasting your own peppers, simply place the whole bell pepper on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Roast it at a whopping 500 degrees for half an hour, flipping it every 10 minutes. When it is done, the skin should be charred. Put the pepper in a bowl and cover for a few minutes. The trapped steam will loosen the skin. When it is cool enough to handle, you can take it out and simply peel off the skin. Discard the seeds and core and just cut the flesh into strips. Personally, I like to always have these on hand. You can store the peppers in any airtight container in the fridge. Just make sure to top off the container with enough oil for the peppers to be submerged, and they will last ages.
Because I’m nothing if not classy, I store mine in leftover plastic jello shot containers I own that have little lids. They are about 3 oz, so they are very convenient for this. I just drain the oil and drop in one pepper shot.