This tomato soup recipe is one that I first learned from my cousin’s wife’s blog – which you can check out at http://www.piercewholenutrition.blogspot.com/. Ann is a Master Nutrition Therapist, and this is originally one of her family’s recipes. My mom and I modified it a bit when we made it on Christmas Day, but it’s great just as it is.
I like it because it’s homemade, healthy, and easy. It was also a good lunch option for a busy Christmas in Maine – warm and tasty without being labor-intensive. You’ll need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry vermouth
2 lbs. heirloom tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (I have used regular tomatoes, and I also skip the peeling – the skins make it healthier)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
2 tablespoons of mixed herbs (parsley, chives, tarragon)
In a large pot, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, fennel, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add vermouth and cook until evaporated (in this case, we didn’t have any vermouth – although dear old Dad swore that we did until the moment of truth – we supplemented by adding roughly a 1/2 cup of sherry at the very end of cooking, and it truly made the soup something special). Add tomatoes and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to break down (8-10 minutes). I didn’t cut the tomatoes into small enough pieces this time around – I usually cut them in eighths, and quarters isn’t quite enough.
Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes. Wait until the soup has cooled, and, using an immersion blender (also known as a stick blender), puree the soup, leaving some chunks for texture. If you don’t have one, you can use a regular blender or food processor (you should wait to do this until the soup has cooled, but when I’ve been in a rush, I have done it while the soup is still quite hot, and it didn’t cause any problems). Season with salt and pepper, and stir in the herbs when ready to serve.
In this case, as I mentioned, we substituted a 1/2 cup of sherry for the vermouth, and we also added about 3 tablespoons of butter, which smoothed out the flavors nicely.
When I make this at home, I usually make grilled cheese sandwiches as well – the perfect complement to this soup on a chilly day.
The end result:
Try and enjoy! Happy Holidays to all.