Can we resolve to do one thing in 2013?
We’re not going to put anything in our mouths that isn’t insanely delicious and wonderful. Yeah yeah – I know how it sounds. But you have to do it.
I think I decided to do this somewhere between the years of 2009 and 2010. At least I’m pretty sure. But whatever, it really was the greatest decision I ever made. The greatest. I make it all count. I can say with sincerity that 98% of the stuff I eat everyday are things I enjoy so, so much. Even to the point of covering with vegetables with, well… something. It’s necessary.
So now… tomato soup.
You’re bored already, right? I mean, tomato soup can be boring. Plain. Unexciting. All of those things.
The thing about tomato soup? Is that I really don’t care that much for tomato soup. Or at least, I DIDN’T care for tomato soup. Didn’t think I did. You might remember that I’m generally not a fan of tomato sauce. So tomato soup? Eh. It’s sort of like a giant vat of sauce in soup form. Plus, my mom never made tomato soup when we were growing up, and it was due to one very specific reason. I sort of want to tell you but you’re sort of going to die when I do. And since I can’t keep anything from you, here it is: ummmmm, so Mother Lovett used tomato soup… as… tomato sauce. Yeah. Like tomato soup from a can. She put it on noodles. Like spaghetti. Treated it like tomato sauce.
I know. What? This doesn’t even make sense. I didn’t experience this first hand (uh, thank God?) but subliminally I believe it played a part in my tomato sauce hatred and lack thereof tomato soup tastings.
I have, however, always enjoyed the idea of tomato soup, especially when paired with grilled cheese and even more so especially because you know I’m that weird person that dips my grilled cheeses in ketchup. I will forever choose ketchup over tomato soup for dipping purposes any day, but since it’s freezing cold and the heart of winter and slightly depressing because the holidays are coming to a close which basically just means there is no longer a constant flow of cookies in the home, soup it is. Plus, soup is satisfying and offers sustenance and all that good stuff. And since I know you’re so tempted to only eat a few lettuce leaves today, it’s just not happening. Hear that? Not. Happening.
I mean… there’s croutons!
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 sweet onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 (28-ounce) cans whole, peeled tomatoes
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated havarti cheese
2 cups cubed whole grain bread
3 tablespoons brown butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
Heat a large soup pot oven medium-low heat and add olive oil and butter. Add onions, salt, pepper, seasonings and smoked paprika, then stir well to coat. Cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in garlic and tomato paste, using the back of the spoon well to mash the tomato paste and evenly distribute it throughout the onions. Cook for another 5-6 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, allowing the tomato paste to become golden in spots.
Add in both cans of the tomatoes (with juice) and the stock, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let bubble for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. While the mixture is simmering, I occasionally mashed the tomatoes down just to make them easier to blend.
While the soup is cooking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brown the butter and let it sit for 2-3 minutes, then toss in the minced garlic cloves and stir for 30 seconds. Add bread cubes to a large bowl and pour the garlic/butter mixture over top, tossing well to coat. Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, tossing once or twice during cooking. If you desire them more golden, bake a little longer - just keep an eye on them.
After the hour is up, very carefully add the mixture to a blender (you will probably have to do this in two parts) and puree until totally smooth. Add back to the pot over low heat. Stir in the mascarpone and havarti, stirring until it's completely melted. Taste and season additionally with salt and pepper if needed. Serve in big bowls with an extra dollop of mascarpone and bunch of croutons on top.
Hello comfort in a bowl.