Monday, December 27, 2010

Mediterranean Tomato Soup

It seems to throw everything in the face of tradition, but, I'll admit that I do not like Campbell's Cream of Tomato soup.... way too sweet and creamy for my liking.  If I have to eat it, I definitely have to make it with water, not milk. 

The perfect Tomato soup is tangy, garlicky, a bit of spice and YUM!  My favorite Tomato soup of all time is at the Andaluca (Spanish/Mediterranean) restaurant in Seattle's Mayflower Park Hotel. Theirs is thickened with a great potato bread that they make on the premises, and gosh, every time I want soup at home, I am fresh out of that bread! It also has a spicy tangy flavor that I just couldn't place (besides tomato...duh!) Reading recipes one day, I happened upon a soup that included roasted red and yellow bell peppers.  Eureka, that was the flavor that I was needing to make my soup more to my liking! The soup I invented that day is really SO EASY, it's hard to take full credit for this.  It's so easy to make anytime with ingredients that you probably have in your pantry!

1 med chopped onion
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika (Optional- adds a subtle smoky flavor)
Salt and pepper as needed as needed
1- 28oz can of Italian plum tomatoes with basil
1- 12oz jar of fire roasted red peppers with garlic
          (Trader Joe's brand or Mezzetta)
2-4 cups of broth (chicken or vegetable)
Cream, if you want to drizzle some of top for serving!

In a medium size stock pot (4-6 qt), Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent and golden brown.

Add to a blender, top with a full jar of roasted peppers (including their liquid), also add the full can of tomatoes. 

Blend until it's smooth.... which actually takes longer than you'd expect, especially if you prefer super smooth soup. 

Add the blended mixture back to the stockpot and turn up the heat to medium high.  I usually use the broth to swish the remains of the blended mixture out of the blender and add to the stock pot. 

Add the broth until the soup is at your desired thickness.  Adjust seasoning to your liking. Heat and serve with bread, crackers, or the all time best pairing for soup and sandwiches, the grilled cheeseTRICK-  Make the sandwich as usual with your preference of cheese, butter the outside of the bread, then press the sandwich into grated Parmesan cheese… grill as usual!  The ‘outside’ cheese makes a delightful crust of cheese, while the inside cheese remains soft and gooey.  Heaven!

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