Tonight, I cooked my little ol' heart out and for no one except me and Hawk. It was spectacular.
I stumbled across a "Spicy Tomato Soup with Sourdough Crouton Recipe," at my best friend's house, but only followed it as a base. I gotta give props to A Cowboy in the Kitchen, but they missed a few important pieces. Like butter. And sauteing. And some garnish.
I've made lots of tomato soups over the years, but this one impresses me the most, and it's 100% vegetarian and could even be made vegan (though, I don't know what you'd do to get the same depth of flavor that the butter gives).
So, if you have 25-30 minutes to burn and want to curl your toes with each spoonful, do this recipe. If any babies are made post-soup, you can send your thanks to firstname.lastname@example.org, because I'm telling you. It's just that good. It'll make your trousers drop to the floor.
I also highly recommend talking to someone you think is really cool while you make this soup. It gives it even better mojo.
Fresh Herb Tomato Soup with Sourdough Croutons
Serves: 10-12, 1 cup per serving
Prep time: about 5 minutes. The croutons should be started just before you start the soup.
- 7-8 slices of sourdough, cut into cubes
- 3 Tbs melted, unsalted butter
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 Tbs each finely chopped thyme and oregano
- pinch salt and pepper
- 2 Tbs unsalted butter
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 red onion, small, finely chopped (about a cup's worth)
- 12 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbs each of fresh oregano and thyme, finely chopped, stems removed
- 2 Tbs basil, finely chopped; 1 Tbs reserved to the side
- 1 28 oz can of fire-roasted tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 - 2/3 cup tomato juice (just the tomato and salt variety)
- 1/2 - 2/3 cup tomato puree (not to be confused with paste, tomato purees often come in a jar, but not always)
- 2 Tbs brown sugar
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
- salt and pepper to taste (you want to make sure to add the salt absolutely last since salt levels may very in the cans of tomatoes you use)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix melted butter, olive oil, 1 Tbs each of oregano and thyme, and salt and pepper.
I licked the bowl... well, not really. But I could have.
Toss in bread cubes and coat well. Place croutons in single layer on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.
Bake pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Butter and olive oil bubbling on parchment paper = bliss.
When croutons are in the oven, heat large pot over medium-high heat, add butter and olive oil, heat till shimmering; add onion turn down to medium-low heat. Sweat until translucent; add garlic (be very careful not to burn the garlic (otherwise known as making it crispy), or you'll have to start over), and cook 2-3 more minutes or until your kitchen smells like it belongs in the Italian countryside.
Uh oh. Better refill!
Add 2 Tbs each oregano, thyme but just half the basil. Wilt the herbs for about a minute, then add the can of fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato juice, and tomato puree. Heat through, then turn down to low heat. Add brown sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. (The sugar isn't to sweeten it, it's to cut the acid in the tomatoes, so be careful here.)
Puree tomato and herb mixture either with a hand blender, or in batches in a blender and return to pot. Add half-and-half, mix, and heat through another 5 minutes.
Just another layer of magic, yo.
Make sure it isn't poison.
Ladle into bowls, garnish with 6-7 croutons and a pinch of the reserved basil.
I'd marry anyone who ever made this for me.
Eat, and die of epicurean delight.