Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup

by Anne Bennett on January 25, 2012

When a recipe comes from a reputable source, if it’s good it ends up on countless food blogs. That’s the case with this tomato soup recipe, which I recently found on America’s Test Kitchen’s web site. They’re an arm of Cooks Illustrated.

Their test cooks have devised a method for making a rich, creamy soup with no cream. I was skeptical, but as I said, the recipe has been floating around the blogosphere for awhile now so I decided that it must be worth a try, and indeed it was.

They use sliced white sandwich bread to thicken the soup. Now before you get all squeamish, consider this: bread has been used as a thickener in Italy for generations in their Italian Bread Soup, otherwise known as Ribollita.

If you’re a fan of Nordstrom’s Tomato Basil Soup but don’t like the fact that it’s laden with cream, ┬ámake this and you won’t have to feel guilty when you accompany it with grilled cheese sandwiches. By the way, the original recipe does not call for basil, which is one of the predominant flavors in the Nordie soup. If you like basil, top each bowl with some slivers before serving.

Creamless Tomato Soup

2 T. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 (28-oz.) can tomatoes with their juice
1 t. brown sugar
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed and bread torn into small pieces
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 T. brandy (optional)
salt and pepper
fresh basil or chives

Heat oil in a Dutch oven, add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and bay leaf and cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and their juice and break up tomatoes with a potato masher or fork into pieces no bigger than 2 inches. Add brown sugar and bread and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer until bread is beginning to break down, about 5 minutes.

Transfer soup to a blender and blend until smooth. (You can also use an immersion blender.) Return to pot and stir in chicken broth and optional brandy. Bring to a simmer, add salt and pepper to taste along with basil or chives. Drizzle each serving with extra virgin olive oil.

Serves 4

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jody G. January 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Does the number of poodles = the number of WW Points Plus per serving?

This looks like a terrific recipe.

Thanks,
Jody

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