Monday, November 10, 2008


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                              I had a craving for tomato soup today.

This soup reminds us of the comforting canned tomato soup most of us grew up with, but with vastly superior flavor and texture. The recipe I started with was published in the September 2008 Cook's Illustrated magazine, BUT I mistakenly used one 28 oz. can of tomatoes instead of two. I didn't discover my mistake until after three of us devoured the whole pot of soup! And, I, of course, had veganized it, used Italian bread instead of white sandwich bread, and made a few changes to the seasoning and technique. (As I mentioned below, gluten-free bread would probably work in this recipe, too.) (Nov. 2012: I have revised the technique a bit, making it a bit simpler to make.) 

But we loved it with the mistake and the changes. The bread and olive oil blend with the tomatoes to make an exceptionally silky texture. Bread has been used as a thickener for soups, sauces and stews since the time of the ancient Greeks, but is rarely used these days. I think the technique should be revived.

Printable Recipe

Servings: 4/ Yield: about 4 1/2 cups

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped medium onion
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1 (28-ounce) can good quality whole peeled plum tomatoes packed in juice (unsalted)
2 cups chicken-style veggie broth (I recommend Better than Bouillon No-Chicken Broth Base) 
3 large slices commercial Italian-type bread, crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces OR 1 cup white panko (dry Japanese bread crumbs) soaked with 1/4 cup water (fluff with a fork)
(NOTE: I haven't tried this with a gluten-free bread, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or to taste-- it depends on your tomatoes)
2 tablespoons medium-dry sherry OR 1/4 cup white wine (can be non-alcoholic)
1 teaspoon salt (less if you use salted tomatoes, in which case, salt to taste)
freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Mix tofu sour creme (commercial or homemade) or cashew sour cream OR vegan mayo (commercial or homemade) with a little nondairy milk and swirl some into each serving for a garnish, along with a sprig of fresh rosemary or a sprinkle of za'atar or fresh herbs.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.

MICROWAVE OPTION: Place the olive oil, onions, garlic, and bay leaf in a covered microwave-safe casserole and microwave on 100% power for 5 minutes. Scrape into a heavy soup pot and place over medium-high heat.

Which ever way you cooked the onions, etc., stir the tomatoes and their juice into the pot. Using a potato masher, mash the tomatoes (be careful-- they squirt!) until no pieces bigger than 2 inches remain. Stir in the broth, bread and sugar and bring the mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, which takes about 5 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf.

Transfer the mixture to a large blender or Vita-Mix. (CAUTION! Take the middle cap out of the lid in order to to allow hot steam to escape; cover the lid loosely with a folded tea towel while you blend.) (NOTE: Unless you have a more industrial-type immersion/stick blender, I don't think it will do the job as well as a blender.) Process until the mixture is smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Rinse out the pot and return the blended mixture to the pot. Stir in the wine. Return soup to boil, add salt, and season to taste with freshly-ground black pepper. Taste to see if it needs any more salt or sugar. Serve, garnished as suggested above, in individual bowls.

 Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving):
229.4 calories; 53% calories from fat; 14.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 890.7mg sodium; 541.5mg potassium; 24.1g carbohydrates; 2.6g fiber; 14.5g sugar; 21.4g net carbs; 3.3g protein; 5.2 points.


1 comment:

Jen Treehugger said...

This looks and sounds sooooo good!
This is another Soup to add to my repertoire!
Thanks for the recipe Bryanna.