The day I sat down to write this post, the weather had severely changed. The previous morning I was wearing sandals and a dress as I dropped my daughter off at preschool. But by early afternoon, the temperature had dropped so dramatically that I struggled to get warm. Today it seems as if winter has finally arrived.
There are a few comfort foods that I instantly crave when the weather chills. One of them is a perfectly golden grilled cheese sandwich alongside a piping hot bowl of tomato soup. Of course, like many of us growing up, I often ate this soup straight from a can. Not necessarily the best choice: as with all processed foods, it was laden with unnecessary added sugars and other unsavory ingredients.
Thankfully, a really good homemade tomato soup is one of the most simple things to make. The hands-on time is minimal. All it needs is some time to simmer while the vegetables soften and the flavors blend. One of the secrets to my soup is a pinch of baking soda to neutralize the acidity of the tomatoes, enhance the sweetness, and prevent the cream from curdling. If your picky eaters are adamant that it be less tangy and more like its canned, condensed counterpart before they eat it, a small amount of sweetener, such as honey or Rapadura, may satisfy them.
Creamy Tomato Bisque
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30–40 minutes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (28 oz.) jar whole or diced tomatoes with juice, pureed
- 2–3 cups chicken broth
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Salt and pepper
- Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté onions and celery with a big pinch of salt until soft, about 10 minutes. Add cloves, bay leaves, and tomato paste. Sauté 1 minute longer. Add pureed tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer until vegetables are very soft, about 20–30 minutes.
- Add baking soda and cook for about 1 minute. The soup will foam up, but this is perfectly normal. Remove soup from heat. Ladle soup into a blender, filling only halfway. Be careful not to overfill as it could explode out from the lid and burn you. Place lid on blender and hold down with a towel. Blend soup in batches until completely smooth, transferring it into a second pot as you go. If desired, you may then strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve to get rid of any small chunks. Alternatively, you may stick an immersion blender right in the pot and puree until smooth. Heat soup again, then stir in cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:
- chemical- and hormone-free meat
- wild-caught fish
- pasture-raised, organic eggs
- whole, unrefined grains
- virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
- whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
- pure, clean, spring water
- sea salt
- raw and/or cultured milk and cream products