I hope you are enjoying this holiday weekend as much we are. We are hanging out in our pj’s, snuggling by a fire and making this AMAZING tomato soup. There really is nothing like tomato soup on a cold day. And, it is COLD in Texas! We had an 80 degree Christmas, but today it is cold and blustery and I need something to warm my spoiled southern bones.
Happy 2016! Where on Earth did 2015 go? For our little family, it was a big year. We moved to the beautiful Texas hill country seeking a better, slower, more balanced life. And by golly, I think we found it. We started new jobs, watched our baby turn into a full fledged, walking, talking, running, bundle of energy little boy, designed our dream home that is going to FINALLY break ground in two short weeks and made a ton of amazing new friends. Whew.
Back to the soup- tomato soup is the ultimate comfort food. After the birth of our son, I think I walked around in a sleep deprived fog for at least three weeks. I was exhausted, in pain, emotional and of course, constantly hungry. But I was too tired to cook myself anything. Once Alan went back to work, I lived on granola bars, fruit and the leftovers of the casseroles our sweet friends dropped off every other night. (Want to be completely bowled over by how awesome your friends are? Have a baby.)
One afternoon, I awoke from a much needed nap to find my infant still sleeping. I tiptoed into the kitchen to microwave….. something. Instead, I found a steaming bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich magically sitting on the kitchen table. Courtesy of my awesome mom. Spoonful by creamy, delicious spoonful, that soup saved my day.
Side note-When my mother told me she was going to come stay with us for three weeks after the birth to help out, I told her that was nuts. “Thank you, Mom, what a sweet offer, but we’ve got this.” IF your mom tells you this during your first pregnancy, do not respond that way. You say THANK YOU and hug her. If we have a second baby, I will beg her to stay for six weeks. Or six months. She was a lifesaver. And that day, that tomato soup was a giant hug in a bowl.
Here is the version I made for us today. Perfect for the New Year because even though the flavors and texture are rich and satisfying, this tomato soup is pretty light- only 100 calories per serving. The texture that comes from pureeing the carrots and fennel make it creamy and silky without actually adding cream. Not to mention they add tons of flavor.
If you are (like me) currently apologizing to your body for the last few weeks of rich indulgence- enjoy the soup all on it’s own. Honestly, I preferred it that way-it is FANTASTIC all by itself. I use 2 T olive oil and 2 T butter in the whole batch. The rest is veggies and stock. However, if you are feeling a little more decadent- add a dollop of this delightful business to your bowl. I used fat free yogurt, so I wouldn’t feel so bad about it, but I ended up not even using it- the soup really is THAT good. But Alan did, and I had a bite of his-pretty darn good.
What tomato soup would be complete without a grilled cheese? We had leftover gruyere from the French Onion Soup I made for Christmas Eve and it made a killer sandwich. And if you haven’t made the French Onion Soup yet- you really should!
Also a great gift to drop off for a friend that’s under the weather. (or one that just had a baby…) 🙂
NOTE- When you puree your soup, unless you want to clean tomato spatters for the next three days, let it cool first. (trust me on this) The steam escaping from the veggies creates a lot of pressure. Let it cool about 20 minutes, stirring every so often. Then do this in batches in your blender. Don’t fill it more than 1/2 full and pulse it a couple times and then lift the lid to release steam before pureeing. It took me three batches, pureeing each about 30 seconds.
This would also be a great opportunity to whip out your immersion blender if you have one. I sadly, do not- but I’m saving my pennies for this one.
As always, THANK YOU for being here! Please enter your email in the form at the top right to receive new recipes via your inbox. Happy cooking!
100 Calorie Tomato Soup
Lightened up Tomato Soup. Rich and creamy, perfect for a cold day.
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 T butter
- 1 medium sweet yellow onion, chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 fennel bulb, chopped, outer layer removed
- 1 medium carrot, trimmed, peeled and chopped
- 1 thyme sprig
- 28 oz can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 T tomato paste
- 2 T cooking sherry
- 3 1/2 C chicken stock
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- about 6 T chiffonnade basil
- Disclaimer- the soup is 100 calories of amazing WITHOUT the goat cheese/yogurt cream. The cream only adds a few more especially of you use fat free yogurt.
- Heat butter and olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat
- Saute onion, carrot and fennel with a pinch of kosher salt 8-10 minutes
- Add shallots and garlic and cook another 5 minutes.
- Add tomato paste and 1 T of the sherry and stir to loosen the paste.
- Cook one minute
- Add chicken stock, tomatoes, thyme sprig, salt and sugar
- Bring to a boil and then simmer for 25 minutes.
- Remove from heat and discard thyme sprig.
- Allow to cool about 20 minutes.
- Puree with immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender. (see notes in post)
- If using blender-pour pureed soup in a large bowl until it is all pureed. Then pour it all back into the pot
- Stir in other 1 T of cooking sherry.
- Re-heat slowly.
- Serve with chiffonade basil and/or the Goat Cheese Yogurt.
- For the Goat Cheese Yogurt
- 1/2 C fat free plain Greek Yogurt - I like Chobani
- 1/4 C crumbled goat cheese
- 1/4 C parmesan
- pinch salt
- fresh ground pepper
- Preparation time: 10 minutes
- Cook time: 50 minutes
- Total time: 1 hour