When life hands you snow in April, make tomato soup.
Ok, that isn’t quite as catchy as “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” but I’ll be honest, it’s pretty hard to make a snowy mess in April sound appealing. It’s even harder to do that when you also happen to be under the weather.
After taking a look outside at the roof-covered buildings and choppy waves on Lake Michigan yesterday, it pretty much became a no-brainer that my Sunday was going to call for a lot of soup. So, I turned to one of my favorite cooks, whose winter recipes have always warmed me up: Ina Garten.
I picked out her Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup recipe from Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics. Although it requires at least an hour of your time, it doesn’t require a significant amount of preparation beforehand or work once the soup begins simmering… which is perfect when all you want to do is curl back up on the couch with a mug of hot tea.
One teeny note: I made a slight mistake at the grocery store and did not pick up heavy cream. At the time I realized this, the snow had turned to sleet, and I just couldn’t muster up the will to brave the elements for one last ingredient. So instead, I used a combination of butter and milk and it still tasted great.
Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup
Courtesy of Ina Garten
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (I substituted grapeseed oil)
- 2 red onions, chopped
- 2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
- 3 cloves of minced garlic
- 5 large vine-ripened tomatoes
- 1 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1/4 cup of packed chopped fresh basil leaves
- 3 cups of chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1/4 cup of heavy cream (I substituted a few tablespoons of milk and a tablespoon of butter)
- Julienned basil leaves for garnish
- Croutons for dipping (optional)
Heat up the oil in a large pot (I used a dutch oven) on medium-low heat. Pour in the onions and carrots and sauté for up to 10 minutes, or until they become very tender. Stir in the garlic and let it cook for one minute. Pour in the chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt, pepper and basil and stir it all up. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for roughly 30 to 40 minutes, uncovered.
Add the cream (or milk/butter mixture) and pour it through a food mill or sieve to get rid of the pulp and seeds.
Garnish with basil and serve with croutons or toast.
Curl up on your couch with a bowl and catch up on your favorite tv shows.