Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Comfort from the Pantry

Early this week, I woke up with a sore throat and, as the day went on, I began to feel worse and worse. Sickness calls for soup. But I was snuggled up under a duvet on the sofa and in no shape to trudge to the market. The solution: a comforting, hearty tomato soup made entirely from ingredients on hand and in the pantry. This is a simple recipe that can easily be made grand with the addition of a fancy garnish. It is a very happy dinner served with open face cheese toasts and a glass of milk. I'm feeling better already.

Pantry Tomato Soup

1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 springs fresh thyme
4 14-ounce cans chopped tomatoes
1 32-ounce box chicken stock
1/2 cup cream or half and half

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter in the olive oil. Saute the onion over medium heat until translucent. Add the tomato paste and the garlic, and saute for one minute until fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes, chicken stock, and herbs, and heat to a slow simmer. Cook, uncovered, for half an hour. With an immersion blender, whiz the soup until velvety smooth. Add the cream and heat through. Serve.

Lovely garnishes (choose one): chunks of feta cheese, homemade croutons, a drizzle of basil oil....

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