I distinctly remember the very first time I had tomato-garlic soup--it was back when my parents were still married, so I must have been somewhere around 3rd or 4th grade. We went out to dinner as a family to this restaurant in Chico called Basque Norte (just googled them--apparently they just sell marinade now), and I ordered the tomato-garlic soup and lamb chops and INSTANTLY REALIZED I LOVE TOMATO GARLIC SOUP.
Ultimately, the night went sour because my Dad was being a dick. (A few years hence we'd be unable to afford dinner out at a nice restaurant, but much happier because my Dad wasn't invited).
Plus, who needs dinner out? In elementary school I developed my first tomato-garlic soup recipe. Here it is:
2 cans of Campbell's tomato soup, diluted with water according to whatever the can says
A few vigorous shakes of garlic powder or garlic salt
Boil and serve in bowls or coffee mugs. Sprinkle with Cheez Its as croutons.
That was great! And my first copy-of-a-restaurant meal recipe.
But in the years since, I've made a far more delicious, complex and wonderful tomato soup recipe. It's a lot more work, though. I start by roasting about 3 lbs of veggies with some balsamic, olive oil, garlic, and a sprinkle of salt. Then, I blend the roasted veggies and add some stock--that's it! This is more a template than a recipe--you could make any kind of vegetable soup by following this basic routine.
Tonight I made a spicy, herb-y yogurt topping, too.
2 lbs Roma tomatoes
1 package cherry tomatoes
2 red bell peppers
1 head garlic
2 TB olive oil
2 TB balsamic vinegar
2 white onions
2 cups white wine
2 TB butter
1 piece of bread (anything is fine--sourdough, wheat, white, etc)
6 cups of vegetable stock (I like to make my own--recipe below. But canned or boxed is fine. You could also use chicken stock)
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the veggies other than the onions. Quarter the Roma tomatoes, chop carrots and peppers into large chunks. Leave the cherry tomatoes whole. Peel a head of garlic. Toss everything together in a large roasting pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic, and sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of salt.
|Veggies before roasting.|
|An hour later--the veggies are fragrant, concentrated and soft.|
Melt the butter in a large soup pot.
Put the two onions in a food processor and blend into a paste. Put them into the melted butter and saute for about five minutes.
Pour the wine into the pot and simmer for about five minutes.
|I used this classy vintage.|
Meanwhile, scoop the roasted veggies and slice of bread into the food processor and blend. You may need to work in batches.
|Roasted Vegetable Puree.|
Add the pureed vegetables to the onions /wine/ butter in your pot. Stir to mix.
Add vegetable stock and stir--bring to a boil, then turn the heat off. Taste--does it need a teaspoon of sugar to temper the tomatoes? A dash of lemon or some more salt???
Serve with toast, grilled cheese, or anything!
Spicy Herb Yogurt Sauce
1 large container (32 oz) of 2% Greek yogurt
2 jalapenos, with seeds (remove seeds if you want it less spicy)
1 bunch parsley
handful of basil
1 bunch scallions
juice and zest of 1 lemon
|Yogurt sauce--bubbly as a result of recent blending.|
How to Make Veggie Stock
Add--carrots (3?) 2 heads of garlic, 2 quartered onions, then stems of your parley and the ends of your scallions to the bottom of a pot. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Cover with 8 cups of water and boil, covered, for an hour. The veggies will become tasteless mush while the broths becomes fragrant and delicious.
(Look in the veggie drawer of your fridge--anything about to go bad? Throw it in the stock)
|Veggie stock ingredients.|
I toasted some bread with cheddar to dunk in the soup--YUM.
This was a great winter dinner--warm, flavorful and delicious. It's a bit time consuming, but worth the effort--though, if you're in a hurry, my original tomato-garlic soup recipe is pretty great, too.