Sunday, January 22, 2012

Unorthodox Meals: Passion-Inspired Rustic Tomato Soup

The tomato is the perfect symbol of passion in the vegetable world. It’s a plump, red, round gem that produces an exquisite juice and symbolizes the shape and depth of a ripe heart overflowing with goodness. I have been reminded of this time and again over the course of the last two months as my boyfriend with the green thumb has been depositing a fresh batch in a brown paper bag on my counter on his visits to pick me up for our whirlwind of various dates. So forgive me if a little romance sneaks into my blog this time because I made a soup with his latest batch that makes my heart swoon and my belly bulge with warmth. Food is also a metaphor for comfort, nurturing and love and what better way to express that than a warm and simply good soup.

I scoured the web for an appropriate recipe to depict my latest endeavor with the homegrown tomatoes and found nothing but pureed versions. I didn’t want to create something that was pureed into an equal and base consistency but wanted something that had a little more depth and oomph to fully express my multi-textured feelings poured into a pot to produce something rich and worthy.

So I read all the pureed version recipes and adapted them all into my own recipe which I proudly now call “Hearty Rustic Tomato Soup.”

After making this, I discovered that it is perfect served hot in small ceramic bowls that keep the chunks warm. I also laid some Whole Foods brand horseradish cheddar spread onto dark rye crisps that when dipped into the hot sop, melted into a deep and toasty moment of bliss that crunched in the mouth ever so slightly; a perfect accompaniment in lieu of bread for the dish.


2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes cut into one-inch wedges
7 cloves peeled garlic
2 small yellow onions, sliced erratically
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
3/4 quart chicken stock
2 bay leaves
4 Tablespoons of butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Spread the tomatoes, garlic cloves and onions onto a baking tray. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized.

Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stockpot. Add 3/4 of the chicken stock, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.

Remove the bay leaves. Use a hand potato masher to loosely mash the soup so that all the roasted veggies are broken down into a consistent texture but not pureed. Continue to heat on low after seasoning to taste with salt and pepper for about ten minutes on low. Serve garnished with a dollop of heavy cream in the center.

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