Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tomato Soup ...... with a twist

Nothing says comfort , like tomato soup . The ubiquitous mass produced soup has been the comfort zone for generations .

Growing up I never experienced tomato soup accompanied with a grilled cheese sandwich . It was always lentil soup ( I know good for you - but try convincing a 5 year old) , white bean soup (because that is what we were fed in the army - another story!!)  and avgolemono - because that was good for the soul !!!

Coming to america , with time on my hands as an "alien" non-resident - and we are not talking E.T. - I also stumbled upon Ina Garten cooking up a storm on the Food Network. One day she made Roasted Tomato Soup - I had to make it and ever since then I have been hooked . Finally...............I broke away from lentils and avgolemono .

Another influence on my palate has been the Latino Cuisine . After making something for Gourmet Goddess menu - I was left with a tin of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo sauce , bell peppers and a half of a huge tin of crushed tomatoes , a handful of sundried tomatoes and a wedge of queso fresco begging to be used.

 What to do ???? There was a chill in the air - it begged for tomato soup - but as always I make things and add a twist . So, in a frenzy of saturday afternoon culinary experimentation Chipolte-Tomato soup with Queso Fresco  was born . It has warmth from the chipolte, a depth of flavour, a nice thick texture that is simply delicious . It was handed out to a couple of friends for "opinions" - they both loved it ........... so a star was born to rave reviews .

So, move over Mr Campbell , your time has been cooked . Take the time to make this soup and you will not be disppointed . If you do not have queso fresco some crumbled feta will do the trick and if you do not have sundried tomatoes on hand - it will survive , but as the french say it may be missing that "je ne ce qa" .

Chipotle Tomato Soup with Queso Fresco
an original Gourmet Goddess recipe

2 cans (28 Oz. Cans) Crushed Tomatoes

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 large Spanish Onion

2 cloves Garlic roughly chopped

1 whole Yellow Bell Pepper

1 whole Red Bell Pepper

2 whole Carrots, Medium Size

½ cup Sundried Tomatoes In Oil - Drained
½ can (3.5 Oz. Can) Chipotle In Adobo Sauce

1 teaspoon Kosher Salt, Or To Taste

½ teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper, Or To Taste

2 quarts Water


5 sprigs Fresh Cilantro

Queso Fresco crumbled - or feta cheese

Mexican Crema - or Sour Cream

Method :
Heat soup pot until hot, then add olive oil, quickly followed by roughly chopped Spanish onion. Saute until slightly softened but not brown. Then add garlic and stir until aromatic. Meanwhile, core, deseed and roughly chop the bell peppers. Peel and roughly chop the carrots. Add peppers and carrots to the pot along with the drained sundried tomatoes and chipotle peppers ( I used half of the 3.5oz tin, but you may use as much of it as you like).

Cook the mixture until it starts to wilt slightly. Add salt and some freshly gound pepper, to taste. You can always adjust the seasoning once the soup is cooked .

Once the mixture has softened , add the cans of crushed tomatoes and stir through, followed by 2 quarts of water. Stir well and bring to a boil. Then lower and simmer for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until all the vegetables have softened. Every so often, stir the soup .

Allow to cool, then puree with either an immersion blender or in batches using a regular blender. Pour into a bowl and adjust seasoning, if needed.

Reheat when ready to eat and garnish with a sprig of fresh cilantro and either crumbled or cubes of queso fresco, or Mexican crema, OR both, if you like.