Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Creamy Creamless Tomato Soup

Boohoo! The weekend’s warm weather has turned cold and snowy again, and I’ve come down with an awful cold! Feeling under the weather, I left work early yesterday, and I plan to work from home the rest of the week to keep my germs quarantined (I’ll look for my coworkers to thank me later J).  Luckily KK asked me to make soup over the weekend, so the leftovers came in handy today as a comforting lunch for me!

Creamy yet creamless.  You're probably wondering how that works! The health benefits of no cream are somewhat offset by the bread that's used to thicken the soup, but it's definitely a healthier alternative to heavy cream.  The original recipe called for thick sandwich bread, but we had a bag of unopened croutons that we were itching to get rid of.  I can wholeheartedly (after just finishing the leftovers!) confirm that using croutons was a great substitute.  Ours were seasoned with garlic and Italian spices, so they added nice flavoring to the soup.  After much stirring, I was unable to find the bay leaf, so I gave up and blended the soup with my immersion blender.  The bay leaf must've been emulsified, because we never found it! If you don't have an immersion blender, carefully transfer the soup to a standard blender in batches and blend until smooth.  As you can see from my picture, I copied Tracey, and served the soup with mini grilled cheese croutons.  To make them - I toasted up two pieces of bread, coated both sides with a little butter spread, microwaved for 15 seconds with the cheese (this is a KK-mandated step in grilled cheese making as he swears it leads to perfectly melted cheese), then grilled the sandwich on a heated skillet.  I cut the sandwich into 10-15 little pieces, and they were the perfect addition to this soup. Enjoy!

Creamy Creamless Tomato Soup
Adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures
Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

¼ cup olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
2 (28-oz.) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice
1 Tbsp brown sugar
3 cups small croutons
2 cups chicken broth

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and bay leaf to the pot.  Stirring frequently, sauté until onions are translucent and soft, 3-5 minutes.  Pour in the canned tomatoes and their juices.  Using a wooden spoon or potato masher, break tomatoes into smaller pieces.

2. Stir in brown sugar and croutons; bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium.  Stirring occasionally, cook until croutons are soft and begin to break down, 5-8 minutes.  Remove bay leaf.

3. Remove soup from heat, stir in remaining olive oil, and carefully use an immersion blender to puree the soup.  Return soup to the heat; cooking on medium high, stir in chicken broth, and bring to a boil to heat through.  Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

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