Is it me or is it almost impossible to imagine eating a grilled cheese sandwich without a bowl of tomato soup? It’s like eating a peanut butter and jelly (strawberry) sandwich on white bread without a glass of chocolate milk on the side. The failure to complete the meal without the other half just doesn’t make sense to me. And frankly, it makes me a little sad as well. How many times have you said, “Man, a bowl of tomato soup would go great with this grilled cheese.”?
This creamless creamy tomato soup solves the soup-less grilled cheese issue in about 20 minutes. Sure, it takes a little longer to cook than popping open a can but you’ll be thrilled with the results. What makes the soup thick and creamy without the addition of cream, or any milk product for that matter, is a few slices of bread. You’ll drop them in the cooking soup then pureé the whole mixture until it is silky smooth, the way a great tomato soup should be. Paired with a grown-up grilled cheese on a chilly fall day…is there nothing more comforting?
Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup
source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, September 2008
This soup can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth and omitting the bacon as a topping.
- 1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped medium (about 1/2 cup total
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- Tiny pinch hot red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 2 slices sandwich bread, crusts removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1 tsp fresh thyme (for topping, optional)
- 1 slice bacon, cooked crisp (for topping, optional)
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 3 quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottom pot oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add in the onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf. Cook until the onions are translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the tomatoes and the juice from the can and using potato masher, mash until no pieces bigger than 2 inches remain. Be careful not to mash the whole tomatoes too hard at first or their juices will shoot out all over you and your kitchen. Stir in the sugar and bread pieces then bring soup to boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.
- Transfer the soup to a blender. Add in the remaining oil and process until soup is smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Alternatively, you can pureé the soup in the pot with an immersion blender but it may not be as smooth. If you use the blender, rinse out the pot and return the soup to pot. Stir in the broth then return soup to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with thyme and bacon, if desired.
Yields: 4 servings