At least once a week when we were growing up, mom served us kids Campbell’s Tomato Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches – CHEEZ WHIZ, that is. I thought that’s how everybody made them – how else was the cheese going to melt?!
Now that I’m all ‘growed up’ I make tomato soup with fresh tomatoes when they’re in season, but on a winter afternoon after a busy day, I have no problem whatsoever making this soup that’s based on a good old can of Campbell’s Tomato. My friends always say they’re amazed I make tomato soup from scratch. I just smile and say, “Umm, umm good!”
roasted tomato celery soup
3-4 ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
3 tablespoon good olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Optional: 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1- ten ounce can tomato soup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
Toss the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper; place on a baking sheet and roast for 40-45 minutes. Cool slightly, then chop or puree in blender, depending on the texture you prefer.
In a 4 quart stockpot on medium heat, sauté onions, garlic and celery with remaining tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon butter for 5-10 minutes – do not brown. Add optional red pepper flakes.
Add the can of tomato soup, 1 soup can water (or equivalent chicken broth) thyme leaves, parsley, lemon juice, and sugar. Stir. Add roasted tomatoes, stir and allow to simmer for 5 minutes – any longer and the celery will lose it’s crispness.
First the onions and celery – don’t overcook!
Can’t stop nibblng the caramelized tomato skins!
The perfect bowl.
Now all you need is the grilled cheese sandwich!
THE LAST COURSE: If you’re not yet comfortable playing around with a recipe, this one is a good place to start.
In the Mood for Italian? Top each bowl with a handful of fresh baby spinach leaves before serving. Or add frozen cheese or chicken tortellini, a dash of Italian herb blend or a can of drained cannellini beans. Don’t forget the Parmesan cheese.
Make it Mexican: Replace thyme and parsley with Mexican seasoning blend (chili powder, cumin, oregano) and fresh, chopped cilantro. Add some shredded rotisserie chicken, and/or a can of kidney or pinto beans, and top with tortilla strips, grated cheddar and a dab of sour cream.