Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lunch Lady Favorites

For the past week I have been craving homemade tomato soup. It is probably the weather and the onset of falling leaves and crisp mornings, but like in the past when I have a craving - it needs to be met. Now.

So here is my tomato soup. I never follow a recipe, but it is pretty similar each time.

Start with some olive oil and red onions. Sweat the onions with a little salt and then add some diced garlic. Saute for another minute or two.

Add 1 1/2 c. chicken brother to deglaze the bottom.

I need to say at this point that I am not a real brand-loyal person for the most part. There are a few exceptions and canned tomatoes is one. If I am making chili, I will use Red Gold or whatever is on sale. If I am making marinara, soup, etc. and it isn't tomato season to use good, sweet, fresh ones - I use San Marzano. I guess it really isn't a brand, but a type. Either way, I am loyal.

When I make soup, I make enough for a couple meals. So I use two 28 oz. cans of tomatoes and one jar of roasted red bell peppers (if I don't have any fresh ones I can roast myself, which is always preferred).


Then I add 2 T sugar and 2 T. Italian seasoning. If it is summer and I have an herb garden I would add fresh at the end, but I'd still add dry during the simmering part. Remember, dry early - fresh late.

Then let this simmer for at least an hour. Mine simmered today for about 4 1/2.

When you are ready to serve, the soup needs pureed. You can use a blender or a food processor, or like me, use an immersion blender. Mix until smooth. Then I add about a cup of 1/2 and 1/2 and 2 T. goat cheese. If you didn't have goat cheese, cream cheese would work, but I like the nuttiness and sharpness of goat cheese.

You can serve it and slurp it down at this point. But you know I don't leave well enough alone. I like to garnish with a few drops of good balsamic vinegar and a little more 1/2 and 1/2. The key here is GOOD balsamic.

I buy two kinds of balsamic. The first is mid-range priced and I use it for sauces, dressings, marinades, etc. The other is upper-range (as high as I can afford at the time). This is the GOOD stuff. Thick, dark and rich like molasses. This is what I put on my soup.

It is common to serve grilled cheese with tomato soup. The cafeteria lunch lady can't be wrong. But what about serving grilled cheese croutons IN your soup?

Usually my grilled cheese sandwich is one of the few times I actually use american cheese. It melts very creamy and makes a great sandwich. However, for this purpose I'd like the cheese to be a little firmer, so I used a cheddar/colby mix. Then I just cut it into squares and topped the soup.

Perfect for a cool, wet Sunday afternoon, or anytime.

1 comment:

Gnightgirl said...

Just clipped this to Evernote. I actually salivated when I got to the dash o balsamic part. Yummm!