adapted from cooks illustrated

Tomato soup is one of those American comfort food classics, it looms large in the imagination sitting next to a grilled cheese sandwich. Nothing could be more comforting than soup and cheese! But the creamy tomato soup of my imagination – was just that – imagination. I didn’t actually want cream in my creamy soup. All that was solved by the ingenious idea adapted from cooks illustrated of adding bread instead of cream for equally delicious results. Making this soup not just comforting, but happily could be served in my kosher home not just with grilled cheese, but alternatively with meatloaf – another all American comfort food!

For an extra kick serve with tabasco type sauce on the side.

  • 60ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 x 400g (4 x 14 ounces) tins (cans) chopped tomatoes packed in juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 large slices, sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 480ml (2 cups) low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
  • Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Using a Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed saucepan, over medium-high heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add onion, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring frequently until onions are very soft and starting to turn golden 7 to 9 minutes. Add the garlic, and bay leaf, stir in until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and their juice. Use the vegetable broth to ‘rinse’ the tomato tins, and add the broth from the tins into the soup. Add the bread and reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and brandy (if using and bring to the boil), boil for 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf. Taste the soup and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  2. If half of the soup fills your blender by more than two-thirds, process the soup in three batches. You can also use an immersion blender to process the soup directly in the pot. For an even smoother soup, pass the pureed mixture through a fine-mesh strainer before serving.