Remember that Campbell’s Soup commercial where the snowman comes in from the cold and sits down to a bowl of steaming hot soup? The carrot nose falls away, the snow melts in big plops and a little boy is revealed under the formerly frigid exterior.
Well, we’re not exactly living on the icy tundra, but we do get some lousy weather in South Florida now and then. On a gray and blustery day, there’s nothing as comforting and homey as a warm bowl of cream of tomato. Even if the thermometer is hovering around 86?. Turn down the A/C and cozy up to a satisfying bowl of soup.
But do yourself a favor and skip the ready-made or condensed variety. It’s easy to whip up a thick creamy potage at home.
This one starts with onions, carrots and garlic, sauteed until tender. Next comes a few cans of good tomatoes and chicken broth. Simmer for 20 minutes. It’s that easy.
To make it that velvety smooth texture you remember from childhood, use a blender to puree the tomato mixture. You may have to work in several batches — and remember that when you’re pureeing hot liquids, never fill the pitcher more than half full and always start on the lowest speed and work your way up. Nothing ruins a satisfying meal like a trip to the ER.
Pour the soup back into the pot and stir in the half and half and some orzo pasta for a little more bulk. (Campbell’s doesn’t do that).
I like mine with a handful of those tasty oyster crackers floating on top, but for childhood-evoking memories serve this with a gooey grilled cheese samich.
cream of tomato soup with orzo
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 large clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1 28- ounce can san marzano tomatoes with basil
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- dash of red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 cup cooked orzo pasta
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
In a large dutch oven, add the olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the carrots, onions, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and stir to combine. Saute the vegetables until the carrots are softened and the onions start to take on a translucent look, about 8-10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, basil, red pepper flakes and sugar. With a wooden spoon crush the tomatoes to break them apart. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat to a low simmer and place the lid on the pot loosely so that the steam can escape. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth.
Return the soup to the pot. Stir in the half and half and orzo. Add additional 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary.