I am a little surprised at how much kindergarten has changed our household, even just a few months into the school year. We love the new friends, new routines and new skills. (And the magical teacher who is working so hard!) But life is a bit more complicated than I expected it would be. Lunches need to be packed (everyday!), buses can’t be missed, and suddenly, dinner must be on the table before 5:01 pm or my normally rational 5-year-old turns into a bear!
Having a predictable dinner schedule helps my little bear on those busy evenings. Tuesdays have become tomato-soup-and-grilled-cheese nights. (Woe is me if I do something irrational, like make rice, on a Tuesday instead.)
This soup is a perfect way to use up tomatoes that you might have canned or frozen in the fall. And if not, no worries — a few cans of diced tomatoes from the grocery store work just as well.
The bread completely disappears into the soup, but gives the soup a fabulous, thick texture without dairy.
The soup takes about 20 minutes to make.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- A sprinkle of red chile flakes (optional)
- 4-6 cups chopped tomatoes or 2 15-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
- 4-6 slices of stale, rustic-style bread (I love stale Grand Central Bakery loaves for this purpose.)
- 1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons pesto, some chopped basil leaves, or a few spoonfuls of sour cream or half-and-half (optional)
1. Saute onions, garlic, chile flakes, and bay leaf in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until onions are translucent.
2. Add tomatoes and simmer about 5 minutes.
3. Add bread, sugar and one of the cups of broth and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. When the bread has softened and started to fall apart, remove the bay leaf and then get out your immersion blender, or regular blender.
4. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pot and blend until smooth and thick. The soup will get lighter in color and look creamy.
5. Slowly add the second cup of broth until soup is your desired consistency. You may not need to use it all. Then, add pesto, basil, or cream (if using), stir, and reheat to a simmer.
Joanna Sooper is the owner and head cook at Turnip the Heat Cooking School. Check out turniptheheatcooking.com to register for their third annual pie-making class on November 20 and to find more hands-on cooking classes for preschoolers, kids, families, and adults.