After reading Robin’s post last week on easy weeknight meals, I was craving that comfort food classic, tomato soup and grilled cheese. I’ve been eating it in various incantations since I was tiny, and I wanted a refined, yet simple version of soup. I looked through several cookbooks for a filling soup that only required ingredients I had on hand, and when I saw Deborah Madison‘s Summer Tomato Soup, I knew I would try something similar. I literally made and enjoyed this dish today and wanted to pass it along.
While not quick (I let this simmer for an hour and a half or so), the hands-on cooking time is next to nothing. The secret is a ton of shallots, one of my favorite underutilized foods. Anthony Bourdain once said that shallots were the ingredient in restaurant food that made you iunable to duplicate dishes at home, and he recommended using them frequently as a welcome flavor boost. I took his advice and believe it to be true. The soup is great either hot or cold.
Easy Tomato Shallot Soup (makes four servings)
- four shallots, peeled and chopped
- one clove garlic, peeled and chopped
- three tbsp butter, unsalted
- six large, ripe tomatoes (approximately five pounds)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 cup milk (I used skim and the taste was still creamy, but you can use any milk or cream you have on hand)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- salt and pepper
- Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the chopped shallots and garlic. Saute approximately two minutes.
- While the shallots are cooking, chop the tomatoes into 1″-2″ chunks.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan along with sugar and water (NOTE: add more water if your tomatoes aren’t very juicy). Season with salt to taste.
- Simmer over low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat.
- Add milk. Either blend with immersion blender, in food processor, or run through food mill.
Serve with grilled cheese, naturally.
Of course, you can veganize this by sauteeing in olive oil and blending with soy or rice milk.