Hearty Tomato Soup

One of my pregnancy cravings lately has been soup. There has been nothing as comforting as a hot bowl of soup to me, plus a couple slices of bread. Or half the loaf because carbs are my friend, my best friend really. (I plan on hitting the gym hardcore after cookie makes his or her debut.) I got my clam chowder fix when I was at Boudin in San Francisco…and oh that was delicious. I made the biggest pot of tri-tip chili, and ate that for a week straight. I’m easy to please for dinner with a big bowl of soup. Currently, my latest craving has been tomato soup with grilled cheese or toasted sourdough slices. Mmm, it’s heaven in a bowl.

If your garden was anywhere bountiful like mine, use fresh garden tomatoes for this batch of soup. If not, pick some up at the grocery store, it’s okay – not everyone has a garden. Luckily, I had my last batch of tomatoes to use up and prepare this soup or use it for tomato sauce. I’m so happy that I picked tomato soup. This soup is easy to prepare and an inexpensive meal, you only need a couple of vegetables to make this tasty soup. This soup is very hearty as the title suggests, and is more like a chunky tomato vegetable soup. It was a perfect weekday lunch or dinner that kept me full until my snack time. Simple and delicious!

Hearty Tomato Soup

Adapted from Pennies on a Platter
For the soup:2 Tablespoons unsalted butter1 onion, chopped2 carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 (15-ounce) can beans, drained and rinsed – white cannellini preferred but I used kidney beans

4 cups fresh tomatoes 3 cups chicken broth1 bay leaf1/2 to 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes3/4 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Garnishment: slices of monterey cheese

Preparation: In a medium Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions, carrots and garlic until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, broth, bay leaf, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the rosemary, and the red pepper flakes. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce to low heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Using a blender or an immersion hand blender, purée the soup. It will look slightly chunky. Return soup to the pot and keep warm over low heat. Taste for seasonings, add salt and pepper. Scoop a hefty serving of tomato soup in a oven safe bowl and add a couple thin slices of monterey cheese. Place under the broiler for a couple minutes until the cheese is slightly charred and completely melted. Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Review: Hearty and delicious. I left out the whipped cream finish that Nikki used on her soup – stop by her blog if you want to see her original version. Thank you to my plentiful crop of tomatoes this season. My San Marzano tomatoes were perfect to eat by themselves, as well as the cherry tomatoes. Yet, my roma tomatoes were the little stubborn ones that were late bloomers. I didn’t mind because I was able to make this wonderful batch of tomato soup with them.

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