Yes, it's the middle of August. It's the hottest part of the year for us, but we do Meatless Monday at our house. It's difficult, sometimes, to find a dish my whole family will enjoy. Well, lately I've been wishing it were winter already so I could make soup. And while you may or may not want to make this soup in this blazing heat, perhaps you will remember it when the weather turns cold.
I got this soup from Better Homes and Gardens a while back. And I'll give you their recipe as well as my own additions. You can keep this a clear soup, or you can add a cream sauce to make it creamy. I like it both ways =)
What I especially love about this soup is the little bit of hot sauce to give it an extra kick. There's the heat of the soup, and then that extra bit of hot sauce heat that stays with you on those icy arctic nights.
One day I'll be savvy enough to post a picture of ingredients. Hopefully the ingredients for this soup are basic enough that just the words will do.
1 1/2 Qt tomato juice or about 6-7 fresh tomatoes (I've always used juice)
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup onion chopped
1/2 cup celery chopped
1-6 oz can tomato paste
2 tsp dried basil or 2 Tb fresh
4 cubes chicken bouillon
1 tsp sugar
few dashes of hot pepper sauce (I use original Tabasco)
In a large saucepan (or large stock pot if adding cream soup), combine all of the above ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until veggies are tender. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes. Blend in a blender until smooth. Return to saucepan and heat to desired temperature.
Last night, for the first time, I snuck in about 2 cups of zucchini to my soup. I cooked it and blended it up with the rest of the soup. My children didn't know the difference and we all got some extra vitamins. Happiness in a bowl. =)
My personal variations:
After making this several times, my husband finally told me that he didn't like the soup so much. He likes creamy tomato soup. This is the cream soup recipe I use to make this soup creamy.
2 oz unsalted butter
1 1/2 oz flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk, half and half, or cream
Melt butter on med-low heat. Add flour to make a paste (roux). Cook roux for about 8-10 minutes. Keep the heat low enough that the roux does not brown. Whisk in chicken broth and milk product. Bring to a simmer and cook until it reduces by 1/3 and thickens. Add to tomato soup.
This obviously makes a large pot of soup when adding the cream. I've never frozen it because I LOVE the leftovers, plus my grandma lives across the street, so I'll always take a quart of soup to her. I have no doubts however, that it would freeze very well.
One last thing. I added a swirl of sour cream just for picture's sake =) Do it if you so desire.