January 04, 2009

Soup for the New Year (Simple Tomato Soup)

It's official: I'm on a soup jag.

Today's soup is Alphabet Vegetable. It is the product of my Simple Tomato Soup (expired link removed - see recipe in comments section below) merged with extra chopped vegetables (this version includes finely chopped celery, carrot, red bell pepper, and corn kernels) and alphabet pasta, along with extra water to be absorbed by the pasta. I showered the bowls with chopped parsley, after the photo was taken, because I though all of the green bits would obscure the actual pasta.

The alphabet pasta was found at Granville Island, after a long, futile search in the supermarkets of Vancouver (well, I found some vegetable-dyed whole wheat alphabets, but they looked vile; I am not a fan of whole wheat pasta), and turns out to be alphanumeric, actually. I don't know if this is standard or not, since I never had alphabet soup growing up, but the numbers are a bonus, I think.

Adding stuff to my soup increased the cooking time by about ten minutes - the extras were all added post original recipe - which meant that the veggies still had some texture. Essentially, it is the variation for Tomato Vegetable that is listed at the end of the recipe, plus a half-cup of alphabet pasta and an extra cup of water. If you like the granular mushiness of canned vegetable soup, you might want to add another fifteen minutes (or more) to obtain the level of mush you desire. You may, of course, use any vegetables you want, including potato, parsnip, peas, lima beans...

We had this for dinner last night with toasted cheese sandwiches (i.e. not grilled, per se), and extra crusty bread for mopping the bowls clean.

Soup is such comforting food, and really lovely for the vertical weather we've been experiencing. So many of them also keep well for second days, lunches, or freezer-treasure. Next soup I've set my sights on? Salmon Corn Chowder. Stay tuned.


kickpleat said...

i bought some pasta alphabets at tosci & co on main street in chinatown (best store ever!). your soup looks good especially since after a long walk home last night with soaking wet boots, i'm feeling a bit miserable today.

Dawna said...

Oh, is that the place that advertises cheese and olive oil on the window? I've always wanted to check it out!

Long walk with soaking boots...I hear you. The weather here has gotten ridiculous; thank goodness for soup!

Dawna said...

Soup Recipe!

Simple Tomato Soup

Serves 2 - 4
Total prep and cooking time: 30 - 40 minutes

1 1/2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
500 mL vegetable stock
400 mL canned diced tomatoes with juices
1/2 cup white vermouth or dry wine (white or red)
salt as needed
pinch of allspice (important!)

Heat olive oil and butter together in a medium-sized soup pot over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted and become foamy, add the garlic and onion. Stir and allow to sauté for a few minutes, or until onion is slightly translucent. Throw in the bay leaf, white pepper and tomato paste, and stir through, allowing the tomato paste to cook for about 30 seconds. Add the vermouth, and stir well, scraping up any bits that might be sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Add the stock and the diced tomatoes, bring to a bare simmer, and let simmer for 15 minutes at medium heat, or 30 minutes on low heat. Taste the liquid, and add allspice (easy does it) and salt if necessary. Turn off heat. Remove the bay leaf. Use an immersion blender to blitz the soup smooth in the pot, or carefully transfer the hot soup to a blender (never more than half-fill your blender at a time, or it will explode all over your kitchen) and purée until smooth.


Cream of Tomato Soup – reduce amount of stock to 400 mL, and add 125 mL (1/2 cup) of cold whipping cream with a pinch of cornstarch stirred through it. If needed, re-warm gently over low heat

Tomato Basil Soup – add 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves with the tomato paste, and stir in 1/4 cup of finely shredded fresh basil just before serving. Alternately, simply stir two tablespoons (or to taste) of prepared basil pesto into the soup just before serving.

Hearty Tomato Soup – add 1/4 cup dry red lentils (well rinsed under running water) and 1/2 cup water with the stock.

Tomato Vegetable Soup – add 1 1/2 cups of raw vegetables, diced small, after blending the soup. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes longer: corn, bell pepper, celery, zucchini are all good. Try a little fresh parsley at the end, to give it some freshness.