It’s soup season, and in preparation for an upcoming Soup Swap I test-drove a new tomato bisque recipe. I have been making a number of new dishes form America’s test Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Revolution and this cookbook has the best recipes for a slow cooker that I’ve seen so far. As you know, I made the cornbread dressing for Thanksgiving from this cookbook and it was a success, in large part because I utilized a technique to reduce the risk of burning the breading (A technique that also works for pasta dishes).
There are two things I dislike about this cookbook:
1) There are very few recipes where you dump in a bunch of ingredients, with little prep work, and turn it on. Usually, you have to combine and microwave some ingredients, sauté a few things first, that kind of thing. But, the results are better and I guess that is what it’s all about. I can generally handle 15-20 minutes of prep work in the morning over a 20-30 minute recipe in the evening, so it’s still a time-saver for me for dinners.
2) Most of its recipes could easily be vegetarian, but aren’t. This soup, for example, calls for chicken broth but I was making it to share with a vegetarian friend who is feeling ill, so I subbed in vegetable broth. (I’m pretty sure this would be a fine vegan soup if you sub oil for butter and don’t add the cream.) I can’t understand why they wouldn’t make it as the best possible vegetarian soup when the option is so easy and broadens its appeal. Most of its recipes have meat and I only eat meat once a day, tops, so it limits my options in planning out the day.
Creamy Tomato Soup
Great for: Soup Swaps (can easily be doubled or tripled), soup course for a meal with company, paired with grilled cheese or pizza for a fast family meal.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 4-6 hours
Post-prep: 5 minutes
2T unsalted butter
3 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes, drained, juice reserved
1 onion, minced
1T brown sugar
1T tomato paste
Salt and pepper
2T all-purpose flour
1T tomato paste
3C low-sodium broth (chicken or vegetable), plus extra as needed
2 bay leaves
1/2C heavy cream (I used a cup on accident, and it was divine)
2 t dry sherry
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes, onion, sugar, tomato paste, and 1/2 t salt and cook until tomatoes are dry and lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Slowly whisk in 1C broth, scraping up any brown bits, then transfer to slow cooker.
Stir remaining 2C broth, reserved tomato juice and bay leaves into slow cooker. Cover and cook until tomatoes begin to break down, 4-6 hours on low.
Discard bay leaves. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth, then transfer to a large sauce pan (NOTE: I used an immersion blender directly in the slow cooker, with negated the need to let the soup cool or transfer it. I fracking love that blender).
Stir in cream, sherry and cayenne, and add more broth as needed to adjust consistency or temper pepper.
Reheat soup to medium heat, season with salt and pepper and serve.
Add croutons or crusty parmesan bread (optional).