Thursday, January 1, 2009

Tomato-Balsamic Soup

This soup is some of the most amazing soup I've ever tasted. If you're looking for restaurant-quality tomato soup, this is IT! It's better than the soup at Think Bistro in San Pedro, Calif. (and I didn't think anything could beat that). So, when the weather turns cool and you're craving something better than Campbell's, try this.

Creamy Tomato-Balsamic Soup

Cooking the vegetables at the high temperature of 500° caramelizes their natural sugars and deepens their flavor; the liquid poured over them ensures they won't burn. Prepare the soup up to two days ahead; reheat over medium heat before serving.
(Lanna's note: You can also buy fire-roasted canned tomatoes. I'd still roast them according to these directions. I only use 3/4 of the tomatoes required in this recipe. Also, use good quality balsamic vinegar. I recommend the Olivier brand at Williams Sonoma. If you want a hint of a kick, give it a dash or two of cayenne when you blend everything together.)

1 cup less-sodium beef broth, divided
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
5 garlic cloves
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, drained
Cooking spray
3/4 cup half-and-half
Cracked black pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 500°.

Combine 1/2 cup of broth, sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce in a small bowl. Place onion, garlic, and tomatoes in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Pour broth mixture over tomato mixture. Bake at 500° for 50 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned.

Place tomato mixture in a blender. Add remaining 1/2 cup broth and half-and-half, and process until smooth. Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids. Garnish with cracked black pepper, if desired.

(One more Lanna note: I don't bother straining the mixture. It's too thick to strain easily. Besides, it's more filling this way. I made homemade croutons from week-old sourdough bread from Panera and topped the soup with it. Fabulous!)

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1/2 cup)

CALORIES 120 (35% from fat); FAT 4.7g (sat 3g,mono 1.5g,poly 0.1g); IRON 1.7mg; CHOLESTEROL 23mg; CALCIUM 120mg; CARBOHYDRATE 14.9g; SODIUM 452mg; PROTEIN 3.8g; FIBER 1.7g

Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2005

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