First of all, I love tomato soup. And knitting. (It turns out that these two things can be a very dangerous combination; strange, I know, but trust me.) Last Hallowe’en, I had almost finished a pair of knitted slippers which I had been working on for a while—all that remained was to add grippy treads to the soles. But I didn’t have time to add them immediately, and I was excited to finally try them on, so I was wearing them when my mom called me in for lunch. Tomato soup and toast with fresh goat cheese. Yum.
And so I, in my very slippery slippers, ran across the very slippery wood floor, and (you guessed it) I slipped. Not just slipped! My feet shot out from under me and I crashed to the ground, landing on my arm. My concerned mother, in an attempt to discern the extent of my injuries, asked if I could wiggle my fingers. Since I could, she was confident that I hadn’t broken anything (it turns out that that is not a good test for broken bones). And it wasn’t until the doctor insisted that I get an X-ray that we realized that there was anything wrong.
My arm healed quickly, though, and tomato soup is still one of my favorite foods. I’ve experimented with several recipes, and this one’s my favorite. Enjoy—and please walk carefully when you smell its delicious aroma…
Makes four servings
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced, or roasted peppers from a jar (the latter adds a particularly nice flavor)
1 large onion, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups / 800g chopped tomatoes (canned tomatoes work well, too—include their juice)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or ½ tsp. dried thyme
1 cup / 250ml chicken/vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
13 oz / 400g cooked / canned cannellini beans (optional)
1 cup / 250ml cream (optional)
- Place the oil in a 3-quart saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Add the onion, pepper, carrot, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, beans (if using), thyme, and stock, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. You can proceed with the next step now, or simmer for up to 60 minutes longer for a deeper flavor. The beans will give a creamier, thicker, texture to the soup so you may wish to add more liquid at the end.
- Allow the soup to cool to room temperature. (You can refrigerate it for up to two days at this point before continuing.) When the soup is cool, add the cream and purée in a blender or food processor. Then, adjust seasonings and reheat before serving.