One of the most popular types of comfort food combinations is the soup and sandwich. And, one of the most popular soup/sandwich combinations is tomato soup and grilled cheese. For my Vintage Classics episode on GHL I prepared Creamy Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese with farm fresh bread, cured French ham and aged cheddar. For the ultimate tomato soup I combined a mix of fresh ripe San Marzano plum tomatoes and canned San Marzano tomatoes. During peak harvest season when there is a plentiful supply of farm fresh tomatoes available I would use all fresh, but during shoulder seasons I will mix with high quality San Marzano canned tomatoes.
Once all your ingredients are assembled comfort can be achieved in about thirty minutes. Mmm Mmm Good!!!
George’s Creamy Tomato Soup
Makes 6-8 servings
chefgeorgehirsch.com | From George Hirsch Lifestyle TV Series
5 large ripe San Marzano Plum tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons sweet butter
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2-4 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
2- 15 ounce cans crushed San Marzano tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme, basil
hot sauce, sea salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 cup half-and-half
Pre heat a large 4 quart soup pot.
Add olive oil, onion, garlic and fresh plum tomatoes. Stir and sweat 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the butter and when melted, then add the flour, sir and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the canned San Marzano tomatoes, stir, and simmer 5 minutes.
Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, thyme, and dried basil, simmer for 5 minutes.
Add fresh basil and simmer for 5 additional minutes.
Remove bay leaves and take the soup off the stove. For a creamier soup use a food pulser and puree slightly leaving a few chunks of tomatoes. Return back to stove and bring back to a boil, and add the optional half-and-half.
Lower heat and simmer 2 minutes.
Add hot sauce, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
Served topped with crunchy croutons and a few drops of olive oil.