Creamy Tomato Soup

For most of my life, creamy tomato bisque has been my go to soup. Forget chicken noodle or beef barley. I want nothing to do with you.

And in the last several months, I have probably eaten my weight in tomato soup. I just can’t get enough. It’s the perfect combination–a nourishing comfort food with lots of fresh flavors. Plus, it pairs perfectly with crusty bread. Which is always a good thing.

So when I found these beautiful tomatoes at the farmers market, I knew exactly how they would go to use. Once home, I grabbed a large dutch oven and got to work.

First, I decided to roast the fresh tomatoes. It brings additional sweetness and a concentrated tomato flavor. For the base of the soup, I cooked down an entire onion until it was brown, soft and super sweet. A small dash of balsamic and rosemary brings depth while a hint of half and half and sour cream stirred in at the end brings richness. I think you’ll love the slight tang from sour cream.

So, get on this. Make it  for lunch this Saturday or even add it to your holiday spread. It’s full of flavor, rich and comforting.

It’s perfection. I swear.

Creamy Tomato Soup
 
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Creamy tomato soup with roasted heirlooms and sour cream.
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients
  • ½ lb cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium heirloom tomato
  • 3 garlic cloves, skins left on
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups sliced yellow onion (~1 large onion)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 14 ounce can whole plum tomatoes with basil
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place tomatoes and garlic cloves on a parchment lined roasting pan. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper. With clean hands, toss gently and distribute ingredients evenly in pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until tomatoes start to burst.
  3. While the tomatoes roast, heat butter and canola oil in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Once hot, add onions to pan. Season with salt and stir. Continue to cook for 15 minutes or until onions begin to caramelize and turn brown. Add fresh rosemary, balsamic and tomato paste. Stir and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  4. Next, add your roasted fresh tomatoes to the pot. Peal skin from garlic cloves and add to the pot. Add entire can of tomatoes and sugar. Stir and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and lots of freshly cracked black pepper.
  5. Next, add small batches of tomato mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer to another bowl. I use a tea towel as my blender top to prevent explosions. Once all pureed, transfer back to pot. Add cream and sour cream and stir until smooth. Season to taste. Transfer to bowls and garnish with sour cream and green onions. Serve with crusty bread, preferably topped with cheese.

 

Beer Beef Stew with Thyme

Growing up, beef stew was a staple in my diet.

Whether it was made-from-scratch by my mother and father or came from a Dinty Moore can. It was something I always looked forward to.

The comfort of hearty vegetables slow cooked in a beef-y, herby broth was always my comfort food of choice. I mean it makes me feel warm just explaining it.

This was my first attempt at making it from scratch, so I wanted to do something that made it feel special.

I found inspiration from the Pioneer Woman yet again, and decided to add beer. What a fabulous idea. The caramels of the brew added a whole new layer of woodsy flavor.

I was calculated when it came to the preparation of the meat. Never forgetting to dry my beef in order to promote the caramelization of sugars. Thanks to Julie & Julia for that life-changing tip.

The key to preparing a good base for any stew or soup is browning. By searing meat in butter over higher heat, it creates super concentrated bits of flavor. Be careful not to burn them though. You can see mine have started blistering here. You just have to be mindful and lower the heat.

Once you add your liquids, the brown bits release giving you full access to remove every tasty little burst of flavor.

Lower the heat and cook for at least an additional ninety minutes to ensure concentration of flavors. Cook the rest of your vegetables in the last 30 minutes to retain a little freshness and texture.

At this point, I also love to add a parmesan rind from my freezer to add another layer of salty goodness, but it is not absolutely necessary to make this a tasty dish.

4.0 from 1 reviews

Beer Beef Stew with Thyme
 
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Slow cooked beef in a beer broth with carrots and potatoes.
Author:
Recipe type: Stew/Soup
Serves: 3-4

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 lb beef stew, cubed (I used a top chuck)
  • ¼ cup flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bottle beer (I used a Shiner Bock)
  • 3 cups beef broth, divided
  • 1½ cups water, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • lots of fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 small red potatoes, quartered
  • grind of parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Instructions
  1. In a large dutch oven or stock pot, add olive oil and butter and place over medium-hight heat. Dry beef cubes with paper towels to promote browning. Flour the meat and season with lots of salt and pepper. Once the butter begins to foam, add the cubes of meat in one single layer. You may have to do multiple batches in order to avoid crowding the meat. Brown the first side of the cubes until it is easy to pull away the meat (about 3-4 minutes), flip and cook the other side until browned (2-3 minutes). Remove meat to plate once cooked.
  2. There should be lots of brown bits and fat in your pan. This is going to give your vegetables flavor. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook an additional minute. Add tomato paste and cook for one minute.
  3. Add beer and begin scraping the brown bits from the pan. Add your 2 cups of stock, 1 cup of water, and Worcestershire Sauce. Continue mixing and scraping the pan. Return beef to pot, season with salt and pepper and lower heat to medium. Simmer for 1½ to two hours. (You may need to add more liquid. I added an additional cup of broth and ½ cup of water)
  4. Add the potatoes, carrot and parmesan rind, if using. Mix in cornstarch and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Mix, remove parmesan rind and serve with crusty bread and a good beer.