The delicious aroma of something baking in the oven or simmering on the stove can instantly transport you back to another time. Maybe you were 5, and it was the first time you licked the beaters helping your mom or grandmom make a cake. Or maybe you were 18, and it was the ramen noodles you were scarfing down at 3 AM as you crammed for the big test. Whatever the memory…we all have them!
Hi, it’s Colleen here today, and for me, both a chicken roasting in the oven and a steaming bowl of tomato soup bring me back to the past in a big way! I’m pretty sure that every single Sunday during the winter and fall of my childhood, my parents had a chicken roasting in the oven. Back then we just called it “a Perdue”.
Nowadays, as soon as I get a whiff of a chicken roasting, I am magically transported back to my childhood home. The house is warm and steamy, I hear football on the TV, my mom is smiling, and I am trying to pinch a few black olives from the olive dish in the fringe before dinner, afraid someone will notice, yet knowing a back-up can awaits because my parents were in-the-know about my pre-dinner olive thievery, and I feel loved.
When I was about 22 and out on my own, I would go home for Sunday dinner. I wanted anything but that chicken, which became a standing joke with my siblings. However, now I would do anything for that chicken and the company of all the people who sat around the table that my father built for our family and to have it be just like it was.
Tomato soup transports me as well.
How many of us were out in the snow or running around on a cool crisp day until our mom called us in for lunch, and on the table was a bowl of steaming-hot tomato soup and maybe half a grilled cheese sandwich (and if we were really lucky, a cookie too!) Those were the days!! Then we’d head back outside with our bellies full and play the day away with our friends. No worries, no cares!
Today I want to show you a quick and easy way to make homemade tomato soup. It only takes 20 minutes, and the flavor is just….wow!
I adapted this soup from an Ina Garten recipe awhile back. You can keep this soup simple, as I am showing you, OR you could top it with Parmesan or Asiago cheese, give it a more depth with a swirl of balsamic reduction, spice it up with some Cayenne (yes!!), or go a little crazy and make those mini grilled cheese croutons, which are about the cutest thing I have ever seen.
- 2 TBS olive or grapeseed oil
- ½ cup chopped onions
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 TBS butter
- 56 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- Basil (see notes)
- 1 TBS sugar
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Sauté your onions in the oil for 4 minutes over medium heat, add the garlic and butter, and sauté for a minute more.
- Add the tomatoes, stock, and basil; bring to a simmer.
- Add the sugar, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Let it simmer for a few minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
For a kick of spice, add some red/Cayenne pepper.
For a creamier soup, add in 2-4 TBS heavy cream.