I guess my simple dinners are pretty much all bread based. I definitely had more than what I pictured above; when I'm by myself I tend to eat various courses of things until I am no longer hungry. I've been semi-obsessed with soup recently and this was my latest effort, a cream of tomato soup from Cook's Illustrated. I've never been much of a fan of tomato soup until now, this was extremely good. Especially with some toasted bread alongside, yum.
Cream of Tomato Soup (adapted from Cook's Illustrated)
2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes (not packed in puree), drained, 3 cups juice reserved, tomatoes seeded
1 1/2 tbs dark brown sugar
4 tbs butter
4 large shallots, minced
1 tbs tomato paste
pinch ground all spice
2 tbs unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbs brandy or dry sherry
I forgot the brown sugar until after the tomatoes were already roasted so I quickly threw 1 tbs of light brown sugar over them and stuck them back in the oven for a couple of minutes. Next time I will follow instructions better. Instead of shallots, I used 3/4 of a red onion. I used 1/8 tsp of allspice and used 2 cubes of powdered chicken bouillon combined with water. Having no brandy or sherry on hand, I used 1 tbs Chinese Shaoxing wine instead (my usual substitute when sherry is called for). And instead of cayenne pepper, I gadded some black pepper. Even with all my subs, the soup was delicious and pretty easy to put together on a weeknight.
1. Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed sheet with foil and spread tomatoes in single layer on foil. Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar. Bake ~30 min (until all liquid has evaporated and tomatoes begin to color). Let tomatoes cool slightly, peel off foil and transfer to small bowl.
2. Heat butter in pot until foaming and add shallots, tomato paste and allspice. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until shallots are softened (7-10 min). Add flour and cook, stirring until combined (30 sec). Whisking constantly, slowly add chicken stock, reserved tomato juice and the roasted tomatoes. Cover, increase heat to medium and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 10 min.
3. Strain mixture into bowl and transfer solids into food processor (or blender). Add ~ 1 cup of liquid and puree. Add everything back into pot. Add cream and reheat soup. Off the heat, stir in brandy or sherry, season to taste and serve.