Opening a can of Campbell’s isn’t a bad thing, as long as you make it with at least half milk and not just water. But homemade tomato soup is so much better. I took inspiration from Joanne Chang’s recipe for “Smoky Tomato and Potato Soup” in her cookbook Flour, Too.
That’s not to say that she would actually recognize this adaptation, but she really does inspire me. The soups in her book are amazingly good. Many, including “Mama Chang’s Hot and Sour” and “Spicy Three Bean and Corn Chili” are staples around here, and can be found elsewhere on this blog.
Spiralizing the onion, carrot and potato makes short work of the prep and results in small enough pieces to meld together in a soup that will ultimately be pureed. Without a Spiralizer, they should be chopped into a small dice. Using good quality canned whole tomatoes makes life easier as well.
3 TBS olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 medium onion, spiralized using the slicer blade, then chopped
1 large carrot, spiralized using the “spaghetti” blade, then chopped
1 small potato, spiralized using the “spaghetti” blade, then chopped
2 TBS tomato paste
2 cans (28 oz.) whole tomatoes with juice
3 cups chicken stock or water
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best)
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup basil pesto
1. Following Joanne Chang’s technique, put the smashed garlic into the cold olive oil in a heavy bottom pot. Warm the oil and garlic together on medium heat. When the garlic is gently toasted, remove it to be returned later.
2. Put the spiralized ( and roughly chopped) vegetables into the pot along with the tomato paste. Toss to coat with the tomato paste, and cook over medium heat until the vegetables soften and are infused with the tomato paste. Return the garlic to the mixture.
3. Add the two cans of tomatoes along with the juice. Use a wooden spoon or a potato masher to break up the whole tomatoes.
4. Add the stock (or water,) red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, half and half and pesto. Stir well. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to achieve a bubbling simmer.
5. Simmer for at least a half hour until the vegetables are soft and the flavors have all blended. Check for seasoning.
6. Remove from the heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until it’s smooth. A regular blender would work, but you would have to puree it in batches.
7. Re-heat gently. Nice served sprinkled with goldfish crackers.
Note: I used pesto because it’s no longer basil season, but fresh basil stirred in at the end would also be nice. You could also add chopped ham or cooked quinoa or rice if you wanted a more substantial soup.