Just the thing when you’re in need of a Norman Rockwell moment, tomato soup can be on the table in less than an hour. The basic ingredients are simple and can be used to make a straight up soup (you’ll want to seed and process the tomatoes to get that Campbells soup effect). The additional vegetables and spice aren’t much extra work and they bring out a pronounced set of distinct flavors.
a great winter meal
As for the tomatoes, there’s little difference between store-bought and canned. If you want, you can substitute two 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes or tomato puree. The advantage of this is that you won’t have to deal with the peeling and mashing. I use fresh because it’s fun (I like to play with my food ).
I post a lot about cooking with boned chicken and fish. It’s great presentation and easier to eat (why else would markets sell filets and breasts?). It’s also the way cooking used to be done, because bones have all the goodness of marrow and texture of gelatin, and who wants the yummy firm stuff going to waste? So use the bones for stock.
at the heart of most things savory
Making stock requires a bit more organization in the kitchen. After a few times it becomes habit. And there’s no comparison between the tepid stuff you bring home from the market and a quart of fresh stock waiting in the back of the fridge. This is a basic recipe, so add whatever herbs you like, or a full bouquet garni if you want to get fancy.
There are two rules for any stew: cook aromatics first (in this case celery, carrot, onion & garlic) and use dry wine. And here’s a personal preference…. Use root vegetables for thickness instead of a roux or corn starch.
crusty bread completes the meal
This is a basic recipe. The essentials are aromatic vegetables, stock and wine. The rest is up to your discretion. You’ll want to make more than you can eat immediately so that there’s something in the freezer for later.
Ever notice how beef stew tastes better the second day? Since this improves after a day or two in the fridge it’s a great dish to prepare on a weekend and serve on the weeknights ahead.
a simple mixture of wonderful ingredients
A great 5 minute meal when reheated, it takes about 4 hours to cook. Another reason for making it in advance.