by Debra on October 19, 2010

Musical pairing – It’s So Easy by Linda Ronstadt

I almost always make a pot of soup each week to tuck in the refrigerator and have on hand for lunches and/or suppers; kind of my backup plan for those times when I don’t have a plan and I’m too brain-dead to come up with a plan and we’re both hungry.  I do tend to lean towards broth soups that rely heavily on vegetables or beans like minestrone, chili, broccoli, vegetable or white bean with kale; but there are times when I just want something a teeny bit more decadent like potato, bisque, or this creamy tomato soup.

Now you may be saying, ‘Tomato soup decadent?’  Yes, dear reader, tomato soup can be decadent if you make it with whole milk, half and half or, be still my beating heart, cream. Feel free to use skim or non-fat milk but that’s when I ask, ‘if you’re treating yourself, why?!’

It’s no secret that one of The Professor’s favorite meals is tomato soup and a toasted cheese sammie.  Several years ago, I came across this recipe from Food Network for made-from-scratch tomato soup and have never looked back – waaaayyyyyy better than the can with the red label – and super quick too!  In fact, even when you don’t have a plan and no soup stored in the fridge as your backup (like me tonight, for example), you can whip up this comforting soup in about 10 minutes . . . unless you’re a food blogger and want to do a post on it; then you must take photos . . . and it will take you about 30-45 minutes . . . at which time said soup is now cold so you’ll need to reheat . . .

Food Network
1/3 Cup Butter
¼ Cup Flour
3 Cups Tomato or V-8 Juice
¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
3 Cups Milk (I’ll leave it to your discretion)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1. In large saucepan, melt butter, blend in flour until smooth
2. Add tomato juice and stir until thickens, about 3 minutes
3. Add soda (soup will foam; blend well), then add milk, sugar and salt
4. Heat thoroughly; divide into bowls and serve
See this?  That is melted butter and flour – what’s missing?  Lumps!  This is how your mixture should look before adding the tomato juice.
I take any leftover bread that isn’t really enough to do anything with, tear it up into chunks and toss in the freezer for croutons – wheat, whole grain, sourdough, rye – doesn’t matter, it all goes into the same bag.  Then when I need croutons, like tonight, all I have to do is toss with a bit of olive oil and into the oven for about 15 minutes!
I have topped with blue cheese, I have added frozen mixed vegetables, small alphabet pasta or brown rice.  And I have topped with herbed croutons (recipe here) dusted with a bit of parmesan cheese as I did this evening.  Warm, comforting, delicious and so easy!