With a minimum of pantry-staple ingredients, this Classic Tomato Soup is ready in an instant and handles almost unlimited customization.
Plain, simple tomato soup is a staple of American culinary life and culture. Campbell’s made a fortune selling it in cans, and Warhol made another cementing the label into a generation’s iconography. When it is well-executed, tomato soup becomes the perfect accompaniment to a lunchtime meal, from kindergarten to the board room.
What sets this recipe apart is its more-or-less generic nature. Although it contains basil and thyme as ingredients, they are background enhancement more than featured flavors. Likewise, the standard aromatics of sautéed garlic and onion serve to round out the base tomato elements instead of an attempt to influence the character of the savory fruit.
Of course, this plain canvas begs for customization. Almost any herb (fresh or dried) complimentary to the tomato can be added in quantity to direct the taste toward an enhanced version. Certain fruits and vegetables also marry very well with the tomato flavor, and with this recipe experimentation is easy and immediately rewarded.
If a more complete dish is the goal, simply stir in cooked pasta, roasted meat or meatballs. About a half-cup of cream or other dairy transforms this recipe into a heavier, creamy version of itself (whatever version that may be). A dollop of prepared sauce or other condiment can also make for a quick adaptation at table service or for a more unique menu item.
Would it be cliché to serve this with a toasty grilled cheese sandwich? Probably, but that should not stop you from doing so.
Classic Tomato Soup
28-oz can of tomatoes (whole)
1 clove of garlic, chopped
½ yellow onion, chopped
1½ T tomato paste
1 T flour
1 T butter
2 c chicken stock
½ t basil
1 t sugar
½ t thyme
1 Sauté the onion and garlic in butter and oil until soft but not browned, about 5-10 min.
2 Add the flour and stir to coat. Add the stock, tomatoes and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 min.
3 Purée in batches until smooth. Season to taste.