It’s a rainy day today. I don’t like the rain much. I think it should only rain at night, while I’m sleeping, that way I don’t miss any sun time. Rainy days do come with an upside though.... hot creamy soup time. There is something so therapeutic about warm soup on a rainy day. This is about as comfort food as it gets, maybe because it reminds us of being little kids, playing in the rain and then your mom calls you in for lunch. You come in, and you’re all wet, cold and hungry. And there it is, on the table, a beautiful steaming hot bowl of soup.
No? That did not happen to you? Me neither! I mean really...we’re not the Cosbys.
I actually did not enjoy tomato soup until I was in my late 20s. The main reason was that I found most restaurant tomato soups really really bad. Pre-made tomato soup from a can...just never tasted right to me. So how did I end up with this recipe? My friend Michael’s grandmother taught it to me. I was over at his house visiting one day, and she was in the kitchen. She was 100 if she was a day, but moved around the kitchen with the gusto of a 20 year old.
Amazingly enough she walked with a walker, but could stand in the kitchen for hours without it. That’s passion. She loved cooking so much that whatever discomfort she felt, lack of balance all disappeared while she was at the helm. Master of her domain she was in the kitchen. She told me: “Do not, I repeat... are you paying attention.... do not use water instead of broth!! Your soup will taste like warm tomato juice.” Then in a very old school Italian way, smacked me on the side of head (not in a mean way, but in a pay attention type of way). Then she added....”that’s so you don’t forget”. Truth is, I have never forgotten, and every time I make this soup, I remember those words of wisdom. Mostly I remember where she hit me....
- Cream (light or heavy, it’s up you)
- Chicken Broth
- 1 medium can of Tomato puree
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Salt & Pepper
- Cumin (this is a must)
- Olive Oil
- Sharp Cheddar
- A few cooked shrimps (optional)
1- Get a pot and put it on medium high heat, put a glug of Olive Oil.
2- Bash the garlic in a mortar and pestle and add it to the pot, moving it around quickly so it does not burn.
3- Add your can of tomato puree and make a ladle or two of broth. Keep it on the heat until it start to bubble. You should stir it often so it does not burn or stick.
4- Now add 3-4 ladles of cream and a couple more of broth. Stir and mix well. Keep adding cream and broth until you get the type of consistency you like. Some like it really thick and some like it more runny. Do as you please.
5- Now for seasoning, add 2 good pinches of salt, and a bunch of freshly ground pepper. Ad a good pinch of cumin. Taste and repeat till it is right.
6- Now get a piece of sharp cheddar and shred it into the soup. It will melt, stir it well.
7- Once the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 10 min.
1- Don’t chop the garlic, because you’ll end up with garlic chunks in the soup which is not nice.
2- Cooking the tomato puree on it’s own is an important step. If you just add all ingredients together, and bring it a boil, you end up with a soup that does not taste cooked.
Put a couple of ladles into a bowl. Drizzle some olive oil.
Add some of the shrimps in the centre of the bowl
Serve with a crouton or seven