A number of years ago, a good friend of mine gave me a cookbook entitled A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen by the chef Jack Bishop.
It was a book of hers that I admired when visiting her home, especially when she tried out different recipes for soup that she would share at our Wednesday afternoon staff meetings. How excited I was when she gave me this cookbook for a birthday gift!
One of the things I love about this cookbook is that it offers recipes by season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall… and the ingredients that you would find, give or take depending on where you live, during each season. One of my favorite recipes is for Creamy Tomato Soup, the best part being that there is no actual cream in the soup, and instead the recipe calls for the use of leeks to create the creamy texture, making the soup not only hearty but also healthy.
After years of making this recipe, I have it committed to heart.
I have played around with the ingredients to make it suit both my own tastes and those of my family. And although spring is on its way, we are still finding ourselves with below freezing temperatures at night and this soup, paired with a good grilled cheese sandwich, is the definition of comfort food!
Creamy Tomato Soup
(Time: about an hour, serves about 6)
2 cans of whole tomatoes – 28 oz each
2 cups of vegetable broth
3 medium leeks – dark green leaves removed
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbs butter
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 Tbs flour
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Open the cans of tomatoes and pour them into a colander that is placed over a bowl. The bowl will catch the extra tomato juice that will come out of the can. You will use this later to add to the soup.
Open the tomatoes and squish the guts out. Place the open tomatoes on a baking sheet (note here that I cover my baking sheet with tin foil, since roasting the tomatoes makes a pretty sticky mess that is quite difficult to clean).
Sprinkle the brown sugar over the tomatoes and place the sheet on the middle rack of your oven. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to look like they are drying out.
While the tomatoes are roasting, melt the butter in a dutch oven over a medium heat until it no longer bubbles. Add the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks are soft and golden brown. Put in the nutmeg and stir for a minute. Add the flour and stir for another minute.
Add the extra tomatoes juice from the cans and the vegetable broth, and bring to a simmer. While this is cooking remove the tomatoes from the oven and place into the soup. Bring the soup to a boil and cover, simmering on low for 30 minutes.
Uncover, and place the soup in batches into a blender, to pulse and puree all of the ingredients.
Place back into the dutch oven and continue to cook, adding salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low, until ready to serve. Serve garnished with parmesan cheese.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
ps – And here I present to you what I like to call my Keeping It Real moment: