What marketing freak decided that the middle of winter would be a good time to curb one’s gluttony and try to eat more leafy greens? The Romans? The folks at Hallmark? Sure, I aspire to be virtuous (with the resulting girlish figure) as much as anyone, but, folks, it’s 7° in Boston today. Seven Degrees. Let’s get real — I am not eating salad for lunch, or dinner. What I am eating is this:
That’s right, there’s a couple slices of garlicy, fatty salami squeezed in there between the cheese and the (leftover) homemade bread slathered with my favorite butter. And there’s cream in that soup, people, because it’s winter, and my inner cave-woman is telling me to bulk up against the cold. That, and the sweet cream makes the tomatoes and basil taste bright and sweet without being acidic. It’s delicious and better than anything from a can (although there are some around this house who would disagree, but what can I tell you — Anne loves her Campbell’s. I, on the other hand, don’t like my soup seasoned with aluminum.)
We can be honest with each other here, can’t we? I’m saving the dieting for spring.
Creamy Tomato Soup
Adapted from The New Basics, Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
(2) 35 oz. cans whole, peeled tomatoes, with their juice
8 basil leaves, slivered
1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste)
4 cups chicken stock
½ teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Sauté onions, garlic and carrot until fragrant and soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil and sugar, increase heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, allspice, salt and pepper.
Slowly bring soup to the boil and then reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer for 50 minutes. Purée soup using a blender (in batches), food mill or immersion blender. Return the soup to the pot, add the heavy cream and heat through. Taste the soup for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Serves 8-10.