What do you think of when you hear the words "grilled cheese"? If you are anything like me, you automatically think of tomato soup. It would appear that most school children and the editors of Bon Appetit agree with me. The fact is that there is nothing that pairs better with this classic cheesy sandwich than a warm bowl of tomato soup.
So, one night last week, when I was feeling too lazy too cook, I decided I would just make grilled cheese for dinner to eat with some crudites until I remembered seeing a tomato soup recipe in this month's issue of Bon Appetit Within moments, I was standing at my bookshelf, flipping through pages of a magazine and the grilled cheese sandwiches were no longer a sad dinner on a lazy night, but an excuse to cook something new.
What caught my attention about this soup in particular was that it didn't call for basil. Now, don't get me wrong. I love basil. I always have a bottle of dried basil on my counter, frozen cubes of basil in the freezer, and a fresh bunch in the fridge and I throw it on absolutely everything--find me an Italian who doesn't. However, every now and then, it is nice to switch things up and, while every tomato soup I have ever had involved basil, this one didn't. The only herb it called for was fresh thyme.
As it turns out, tomato soup made only with thyme is delicious. The soup was delicately flavored with a fresh tomato taste. It was everything you could want a tomato soup to be, including super easy to make. The only change I made to the recipe was substituting half and half for heavy cream. It was what I happened to have on hand and it worked beautifully.
Creamy Tomato Soup
Source: Bon Appetit, October 2012
1/4 cup unsalted butter
10 sprigs of thyme, tied together
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1-2 tsp sugar, divided
2 (28 oz) can of whole plum tomatoes
8 cups water
1/4 cup half-and-half
Freshly ground pepper
- Melt butter in large saucepan on medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, and thyme until the onion is translucent. Be sure to stir it intermittently.
- Increase heat to medium high and add tomato paste. Stir often. Continue cooking until the tomato paste begins to caramelize.
- Add tomatoes with juice, 1 tsp sugar, and water.
- Reduce heat to medium and let soup simmer until it reduces to approximately 2 quarts. This took me just over an hour, but the recipe had said it would take45-55 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool for at least an hour. Discard thyme sprigs.
- Working in small batches, put it in a food processor or blender and puree the soup.
- Return it to the pot. Add half and half to pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and additional tsp. of sugar if necessary to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.
Calories: 138 per serving