The gelatinous slurp of condensed tomato soup sliding out of a can and into a pot was the sound of my first act of independence in the kitchen. I loved that the goopy lump slowly slumping in the pan was still vaguely can-shaped – the tin may have been Andy Warhol, but its contents were pure Salvador Dali. Add one tin of milk (no low-class watered soup in our house) and stir over medium heat until, presto, lunch was “cooked”. I served it with a side of saltine crackers. Not bad for a nine-year-old.
Skip ahead more than fort…let’s just say a number of years…and the food snob in me has little use for tinned soup (skeet shooting?). But there’s still something special about a simple bowl of creamy tomato soup, especially when you make it yourself.
I serve this soup garnished with croutons and a little chopped fresh basil (if I happen to have some) and crusty bread on the side (or saltines, if no one is looking).
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 28 ounce cans whole tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoon sugars
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano or 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds longer. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, celery seed, oregano, and sugar. Bring to a boil, add cream and salt and pepper to taste, then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove bay leaf and puree soup with an immersion blender or in a stand blender in batches. Return to pot and bring back to a simmer, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Serve and enjoy!