Tomato soup and grilled cheese: it’s an American staple. Probably because it’s fast, and it’s satisfying.
The thing is, as a grown adult cooking for my family, I discovered that many cans and cartons of tomato soup are chock full of sugars. On the other hand, a lot of homemade recipes, although fresh and delicious, take time to make, and don’t yield that ultra smooth brilliant soup you get from a can.
This recipe, which I first learned from my sister-in-law, solves the problem. It’s fast, it’s simple, it’s cheap and it tastes like it came from a can—but better! This tomato soup is perfect for a quick comforting lunch or a simple weeknight dinner.
quick tomato soup
2 6-oz cans tomato paste
4 cups (1 quart) of stock, either chicken or vegetable
2-4 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream
In a large pot, whisk together tomato paste, stock, and 2 cups water. If it seems too thick, whisk in more water (it will thicken slightly while it simmers). Season with salt and a sprinkle of pepper.* Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, whisk in heavy cream (you can adjust the amount to make the soup more or less creamy). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
*I hesitate to give exact amounts for the salt because stocks vary widely on how salty they are. Taste it and judge for yourself! I usually start with 1 teaspoon of salt and go from there.
roux base: sometimes to make a richer and thicker soup, I’ll start with a roux as a base. Begin by melting 4 tablespoons butter in the pot. Whisk in 2 tablespoons flour and cook at medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Continue making soup by adding tomato paste, stock and water to the roux. You may find you need the full 4 cups of water because a roux will make the mixture thicker.
tomato rice soup: if you have a couple cups of leftover rice, stir it in towards the end of the simmer time to make tomato rice soup. This is particularly delicious when seasoned with fresh or dried dill weed.