Saturday, February 8, 2014

Grown-Up Roasted Tomato Balsamic Soup

Since I've been in a bread-making phase this bitter winter, it only seems natural that I also am in a soup and stew phase. This recipe is a long-time favorite. (In fact, I should probably just rename this blog SingleGrrl's Greatest Hits, since I've been blogging more about my old standards than new experiments. But anyway ....) I've been making it, or variations thereof, since it was first published in Cooking Light magazine. Its title in the magazine is Creamy Tomato Balsamic Soup. I consider the "creamy" part optional, though, and I like to emphasize the fact that the tomatoes are roasted. This soup has a deep, robust flavor, and has the added attraction of being healthy and easy to make.

Of course, you'll want to pair this with a grilled cheese sandwich made with slices of Cottage Tea House Bread or 100% Whole Wheat Bread, as you see here. What is more classic than a good homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich?

The recipe calls for low-sodium ingredients where available. I don't take great pains to eat low sodium, but this has enough salt for me as written. Of course, you can use full-salt versions of the ingredients where desired. If you use vegetable stock instead of the beef stock, and omit the dairy at the end, this is a nice vegan dish as well. As a singleton, I often make this soup and freeze in portions; it makes a great grab-and-go brown bag lunch option. It pairs well with a grilled cheese sandwich or cheese toast, of course! For those lunches on the go, though, I usually have some cheese and crackers.

Roasted Tomato Balsamic Soup

Adapted from Cooking Light

Serves 4

1/2 cup + 1/2 cup less-sodium beef (or vegetable) broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup coarsely chopped (1/2 inch) onion
5 garlic cloves, peeled
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, drained
     (I usually use half regular, half no-salt-added)
Cooking spray or vegetable oil

Optional for serving:
3/4 cup half-and-half OR sour cream OR plain regular yogurt
Cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 500°. Generously coat a 13x9 baking pan with cooking spray or vegetable oil.

Combine 1/2 cup of the broth, sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce in a small bowl. Place tomatoes, onion, and garlic in the prepared baking pan. Pour broth mixture over tomato mixture.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until vegetables are lightly browned. Stir every 15 minutes or so to prevent scorching.

Tomatoes, onions, and garlic after roasting

Cool tomato mixture slightly. Place in a blender or food processor with remaining 1/2 cup broth and puree. If you like a rustic soup texture and don't mind the seeds, skip to the Serving instructions. If you don't want the seeds and/or prefer a silkier texture, first strain the mixture through a sieve into a saucepan, using a rubber spatula to push it through the mesh.

To make this a creamy soup, stir in 3/4 cup to 1 cup of half-and-half. Otherwise, add more broth or water to thin to the desired consistency. Pour the soup into a saucepan and heat gently on the stove over medium heat; do not allow to boil. Ladle into soup bowls or mugs. Whether or not you make it a creamy soup, you can top with a dollop of well-stirred sour cream, creme fraiche, or plain yogurt.

Garnish with cracked black pepper, if desired.

No comments: