Wintertime Tomato Soup

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: About 11/2 hours, mostly unattended

When you crave tomato soup during the deep, dark days of January, it makes sense to prepare a seasonally appropriate version, using canned and dried tomatoes. The combination is powerfully flavorful, especially after you roast the canned tomatoes, which intensifies the taste and improves their texture.

This rustic soup makes a perfect base for stew: Try adding cooked potatoes, pasta, beans, or vegetables after the tomatoes have melted into the broth, or try the rice-based variation.

1 cup loosely packed (about 2 ounces) dried tomatoes (preferably not packed in oil)

1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (optional)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 medium carrot, finely diced

1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons honey

1 quart vegetable stock or water

1/4 cup chopped parsley

01.png Preheat the oven to 375В°F. Put the dried tomatoes in a heatproof bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water. Drain the canned tomatoes and reserve the liquid. Halve them and put in a shallow roasting pan; drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with the thyme if you’re using it. Roast, turning once or twice, until the tomatoes are dried and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

02 When the tomatoes are done, drain the dried tomatoes and pour their soaking liquid into the roasting pan. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, breaking up the roasted tomatoes at the same time. Roughly chop the dried tomatoes and add them to the roasting pan.

03 Put the remaining olive oil in a deep skillet or medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the garlic and cook just until it begins to color, a minute or so. Add the carrot and onion and cook until they start to release their liquid, about 3 minutes more. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add the honey and stir until it melts, just a few seconds.

04 Add the reserved liquid from the canned tomatoes and continue stirring until the liquid dries out and darkens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock, along with the contents of the roasting pan. Turn the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat so it bubbles gently. Cover and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Garnish with the parsley and serve.

Variations

Wintertime Tomato and Rice Soup. More substantial: Add 1 cup short-grain rice, like Arborio, to the pan in Step 4, just after the reserved canned tomato liquid has cooked. Increase the stock to 6 cups.

Elegant Wintertime Tomato Soup. Use an immersion blender to pure the finished soup in the pan; or cool the soup to room temperature, carefully pure in a blender, and return to the pan to reheat. Stir in 1 cup heavy cream, sour cream, or any milk and heat gently.

10 Tomato-Friendly Soups

All of these soups can be easily varied by the addition of tomatoes during cooking.

  1. Cauliflower Soup, Italian Style
  2. Classic Lentil Soup and its variations
  3. Mung Bean Soup
  4. White Bean Soup and its variations
  5. Bread Soup
  6. Vegetable Soup, Thai Style
  7. Chile Bisque
  8. Corn Chowder and its variations
  9. Garlic Fideo Soup
  10. Rich Zucchini Soup