Cream of tomato soup is a classic cold-weather dish. This is my version of it, seasoned with cilantro, oregano, cumin, and paprika to create a different flavor than one normally finds in a tomato soup. While it is a perfect way to warm your insides after being out on a blustery winter day, it can also be chilled and served for dinner on a warm summer evening.
- 5 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic, (can substitute 2 cloves fresh garlic or 1/4 tsp. garlic powder)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cilantro
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup half-and-half
- In a deep skillet (or medium-sized stock pot), heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion to the pan and cook until it is nearly clear, stirring often to make sure none of the pieces sear.
- Set 1 cup of the tomato pieces aside, then add the remainder to the pan. Add the garlic to the onions and tomatoes, then cover the pan and allow the tomatoes to cook down some (about 3 minutes). After this, add the salt, cilantro, white pepper, oregano, paprika, and cumin to the soup and stir well. Allow to simmer again while covered for five minutes. Stir a couple times to prevent burning on the bottom.
- Pour the chicken stock into the pan and stir. Re-cover the soup and wait for it to come to a boil again (2-5 minutes, depending on whether your stock was hot or room temperature).
- Put the three tablespoons of flour into a liquid measuring cup. Take about 3/4 cup of the broth from the pan and slowly add it to the flour, pausing to whisk the mixture briskly a few times (you can use a large fork to do this if you do not have a small whisk). When the mixture has become a thin paste with no lumps, add it to the soup pot, stirring constantly as you pour.
- Add the reserved tomato pieces to the soup and allow the soup to simmer uncovered for 5 more minutes, then turn the heat down to low. Take the measuring cup with the half-and-half in it (make sure it is in a container that is larger than one cup -- if you do not have a larger liquid measuring cup, a tall drinking glass will do) and gradually add some of the soup to it a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once the half-and half is well above room temperature (in other words, if you put the tip of your finger in the cream and it feels hot, then it is ready), pour it into the soup and stir. Let the soup cook a couple more minutes uncovered, then serve. Refrigerate any uneaten portion as soon as it has cooled.
Tips and Notes
- While gradually heating up the half-and-half may seem like a tedious extra step, it prevents the dairy product from curdling once it is added to the soup (curdled half-and-half in your soup is quite unappetizing).
- Combine all of the dry seasonings together in one small bowl or cup before you start cooking the soup so that you can dump them all in at once when you need them. This prevents you from having to keep the lid off longer than necessary.
- The tomatoes and onion can be peeled and chopped the evening before to save time if you are preparing the soup after a busy day. Just store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator until you need them.
- A small paring knife works best when peeling tomatoes.
- Instead of serving the tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich as many people do, try serving it with cheese quesadilla wedges for something different. Simply heat a little butter in a skillet over medium heat, add a tortilla to the pan, then sprinkle a handful of cheese on top of the tortilla. Once the tortilla has browned on the bottom and the cheese had melted, flip one half of the tortilla over onto the other half. Cut into four wedges and serve. Repeat for as many wedges as you may need.
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