Jackson, Amelia and I go out for "soup & bread with Grama" almost every week. We go to Panera because it's easy, inexpensive and has food that Jackson could possibly eat, if he's feeling up to eating in general on that particular day (don't get me started about this picky bird eater, that is not the topic for tonight's post). We usually get their yummy Creamy Tomato Soup with the super awesome Asiago croutons on top. I share a little of mine in a bowl for him and he dips his grilled cheese sandwich into it.
My favorite soup from the MaryJane's Farm line of backcountry camping foods is the Peasant Tomato Soup. It's just a super simple tomato soup blended with cheese and potato flakes that is so good that you don't even have to be in the backcountry to enjoy it (unlike a lot of backcountry food, which tastes like cardboard when you're back home).
Dan gave me a book called Sylvia's Farm a few years ago for Christmas; it's the story of "An Improbable Shepherd" in upstate New York and her trials and tribulations with her farm. I don't remember much of the book's details now (though I enjoyed it very much), but I immediately catalogued the chapter called "Tomato Soup" and often recall the warm feeling I got just from reading it, let alone making the soup she described in it.
Given my tastes listed above, it was no surprise that when I started thinking about soup for the weekend--and it was pretty clear that it was going to be a chilly and snowy one--tomato soup just sort of started making itself in the pot.
Here's the recipe that I came up with. As you can see, it was so good that it didn't last long.
Tomato Soup for a Cold Weekend
• olive oil
• 2 medium onions, diced
• a bunch of garlic, minced
• salt and pepper
• the leaves from one sprig of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
• 3 vegetable bouillon cubes
• 2-3 pounds red potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 2 16-ounce cans diced tomatoes
• 1 small can tomato paste
• 4 ounces white Cheddar cheese, shredded
Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add onions and garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and cook until onions start to release their liquid and get good and cooked down. Uncover, add rosemary and saute until onions are lightly browned. Add vegetable bouillon cubes, 6 cups of water, potatoes, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir well to dissolve cubes and paste completely. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer on low for a good long while (an hour?). Turn off heat and let soup cool down slightly. Process soup in batches in a blender or food processor, then return to the soup pot. Stir in white Cheddar cheese. Serve with warm bread or a hot grilled cheese sandwich.