Deep and rich, fresh tasting tomato soup is no longer a summertime only treat! Fire-roasted canned tomatoes + a nice, slow simmer produce a soup which you will love, and that your whole family will be asking for again and again.
This soup is based on one we used to eat at a local restaurant many years ago. The chef would make the soup only at the height of summer and only if he liked the tomatoes enough. It was a great soup, but only a very occasional treat since it wasn’t on the menu very often! Over the years I’ve worked on replicating the soup myself. At first I only used fresh tomatoes like he did and roasted them up to make the soup. This also made a great soup, but still only an occasional treat since I had to be in the mood to roast tomatoes for an hour in my oven in the middle of summer. So hot! 🙂 And fresh, local tomatoes are rather expensive, even if you hunt out sauce tomatoes, so it was something I only made a couple times a year.
Enter Muir Glen canned tomatoes. These are highly flavored and organic tomatoes and my first choice for any tomato sauces or soups. They are roasted already, which saves me a step and concentrates the tomato flavors, and are as easy as opening a can. Now I can make this soup year ’round and without breaking the bank.
As for topping the soup, you cannot go wrong with making the wine soaked croutons. This was the centerpiece of the chef’s soup and the one thing I never considered changing. I either grill them up, outside in good weather or in my grill pan when it’s nasty out, or toast them in the the oven for a few minutes; and then dip them in the wine. Use any fruity red that you would eat with the soup. I like Shiraz or Zinfandel or, the classic, Chianti. A couple of tablespoons per crouton is all you need and then the flavors of the soup and wine can combine beautifully. Get your hands on some fresh basil and a block of parmesan and you will have the tomato soup of your dreams.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large white onion, finely diced
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 2 28-oz cans fire roasted tomatoes, either whole or diced
- 5 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock, or no sodium stock
- 1 pinch granulated sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over and brush the croutons
- 4 slices country style Italian bread, cut in half
- 2 ozs parmesan cheese, shaved with a peeler
- ½ cup fresh basil, sliced
- 1 cup red wine
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-low heat; add the onion and salt and saute, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft and golden. Add the garlic and saute another 30 seconds. Add thyme, oregano, tomatoes, and chicken stock. Bring everything to a boil on medium-high. Then lower the temperature to produce a gentle simmer. Partially cover the pot and let the soup simmer for 50-60 minutes.
- Remove the soup from the heat and let cool a few minutes. Try the soup and add some salt and pepper to taste. Using a stick blender, or in batches in a regular blender, puree the soup until it's as smooth as you like it. At this point the soup can be refrigerated overnight or brought back up to a simmer in the pot.
- While the soup is heating through again, prepare the croutons. Brush each crouton with olive oil and either toast or grill the bread until golden brown. Pour the wine into a shallow bowl and dip each crouton into the wine and then place it into the middle of each person's bowl. If not using the wine, brush the croutons with a little more oil and then place in the bowls.
- Carefully ladle the soup around the croutons and then add basil, parmesan shavings, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Wine soaked croutons are obviously not for the smaller members of the household. Just use a toasted or grilled crouton which has been brushed with some olive oil.
I use Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes. They have excellent flavor and are organic. Both good things.