Roasted Tomato Soup (best soup EVER)

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: September 2012, Soups

 

My go to comfort food has always been tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Whether it was a break up, a bad test mark, a job I didn’t get or a painful hangnail, tomato soup always made it better (even if only temporarily…Polysporin helps more with the hangnail). So when I came across a recipe for ‘Roasted Tomato soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons’ I knew I had to make it. Unfortunately it ruined me. This soup is sooooo ridiculously delicious I don’t think I will ever be able to simply open a can of Campbells Tomato Soup ever again.

I have made this twice in 3 weeks. And other then one bowl I gave to my friend Steph I have eaten every last drop myself.

It is easy but time consuming. From start to finish it takes about 2 hours…but then again, any homemade soup is a lesson in patience. The longer it stews the more flavor you get. It’s well worth it, trust me!

 

What you will need:

 

 

6 cups (3 pints) cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 cup whipping cream

 

Heat the oven to 400°.

In a bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and the salt and pepper.

 

 

Toss the ingredients to coat evenly and spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet.

 

 

Roast the tomatoes until they are shriveled with brown spots, about 35 to 45 minutes.

 

In a large pot, heat the butter and the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat.

 

 

Add the garlic and onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes.

 

 

Add the canned tomatoes with their juice, the broth, the thyme, and the roasted tomatoes, including any liquid on the baking sheet.

 

 

 

(liquid gold pure FLAVOR!)

 

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes.

Using a food processor or blender, puree the soup until it’s smooth.

 

 

Stir in the cream.

 

 

Without letting the soup boil, warm it over medium heat, stirring often, until steaming.

 

The Grilled cheese “croutons” are simply a grilled cheese sandwich cut into cubes. They get very soggy very fast so don’t leave them in the soup too long. By the time I took the pictures the ones in the bowl were a icky, yucky mess. I tossed them, however if when eating your soup you simply drop one in and fish it out right away…YUM YUM YUM!!!!

 

 

Now the second time I made this the cherry/grape tomatoes were no longer on sale so I took a risk and bought what WAS on sale which were hothouse tomatoes (I got 7 LARGE tomatoes for only $3.68!!!)

It works just as well and tastes just as good with these bad boys as their little bitty cousins. Other then the different ‘style’ tomatoes everything else was done exactly the same.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!!

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick

Kitchen Bitch Episode 1

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Appetizers, February 2012, Main Course, Seafood Dishes, Soups

 

Three of us ladies decided to start a little club. A club where we can get out of our house (most of the time), enjoy each others company and some fab food, possibly some entertainment and also to rave and rant about whatever is on our mind or contaminating our souls from the inside out. There have been others invited but for the first installment (Episode 1) there were only the 3 of us. We shall call ourselves the “Founders of the Bitch Revolution” or the “Fab 3”.

We had the first “meeting” at Amandas house (aka. The Girl with Blue Balls of the Soul www.blueballsofthesoul.com).

Our Classy LunchLady photo! (don’t worry…this was staged and the cigarette didn’t even come anywhere close to the food! ;))

Classy Lunch Lady

Amanda had decided to make pseudo Angels on Horseback, Lobster Bisque, Belinis and Cherry Cheesecake. Kind of a retro, throwback, 50s/60s dinner party.

So first course started with the Angels on Horseback. Apparently “authentic” AOH are made with oysters wrapped in bacon. I am SOOOO happy she made pseudo ones. I am NOT an oyster fan. What Amanda made instead were these…

Angels on Horseback

What she did was pound out slices of Wonderbread and cut off the crusts. She spread a thin coating of sweetened condensed milk, Frenchs mustard, a dash of Worcestershire and a sprinkle of grated cheddar cheese and then wrapped it up in bacon. She then placed it in a 400 degree oven until done (about 15 minutes).

These were DE-Licious! I could not stop eating them and have been craving them ever since.

 

Second course was the Lobster Bisque. This was an impressive undertaking. I was seriously blown away. Amanda is a foodie like me. A lot of the fun in cooking for me is the adventure along the way…this was quite an adventure, a lot of steps to do this right. She got the recipe from Tyler Florence on FoodNetwork.com and she MOSTLY followed directions. 🙂

This is the exact recipe as found on FoodNetwork.com:

 

Ingredients

Directions

Dispatch the lobsters by plunging a sharp knife directly behind its head.

Cut the lobster in half lengthwise; make sure to collect the juices that will run out. Remove the claws and tail pieces and set aside. Remove the head sac and liver and discard them; cut the body into pieces. Alternately, you can have your fishmonger do this.

 

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and melt 3 tablespoons butter in it. Add the chopped lobster bodies and heads and their juices, the leeks, 1 onion, celery, carrots, 1/2 the thyme, 1/2 the orange zest and the tomato paste.

veggies lobster bodies tomato paste

Cook until the shells are red and the vegetables are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and carefully pour in 1/4 cup cognac.

cognac

 

lighting the cognac

 

Ignite the cognac with a long kitchen match and let the alcohol burn off. Return to the heat, sprinkle in the flour, stir, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add water to cover and stir up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Immediately decrease the heat and gently simmer until the soup is reduced and thickened, about 30 to 45 minutes.

pre strained soup

Strain this into a clean pot and season with salt and pepper if needed; keep warm.

straining the soup

 

more straining

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add remaining onion, thyme, bay leaf, and orange zest along with the peppercorns and let this mixture cook for about 5 minutes. Add the lobster claws and tails; toss to coat with the fat and flavors. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in the remaining 1/4 cup cognac. Ignite the cognac with a long kitchen match and let the alcohol burn off. Put the pan into the oven and roast until the lobster pieces are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the lobster pieces and set aside. When they are cool enough to handle, remove the lobster meat from the claws and tails.

loster meat from claws and tails

Chop the meat roughly and add it to the strained bisque.

 

To serve, ladle the bisque into warmed soup bowls.

finished bisque

 

 

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I added Amandas pics along the way. Now she made a couple of changes. We had some difficulty zesting the orange, she couldn’t find her zester so tried using a small grater. It was not working so instead she halved the orange and juiced it into the pot. Also she used more butter then originally called for in the recipe. I am not certain HOW much more because I was already into the spiked punch and Belinis at this point. Lets say a dollop more. A large dollop.

After straining the bisque she also felt it was missing something so when in doubt….add white wine. And fresh cracked black pepper.

I thought the bisque was DIVINE. I am looking forward to making it myself sometime.

 

For the Belinis it was about an ounce of peach Schnapps, an ounce of peach puree, 2 ounces of pure peach juice and topped off with champagne. YUMM!!

belini

We had Cheesecake for dessert. There was a slight incident (that shall remain secret) with the cake but it was still delicious.

 

I am hosting Februarys Kitchen Bitch at my house and I am SERIOUSLY looking forward to it. It will be a themed soiree as well…full of fun food, decorations, games and party favors to take home. Bring on the Anti-Valentines day party!

Stay tuned for the next episode!

 

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick

For those cold and blustery winter days

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: December 2010, Soups

Who doesn’t love a big bowl of homemade soup? Especially on those windy, cold, frosty, snowy winter days. I admit, I am a soup-a-holic. I could eat soup everyday of the week and twice on sundays. I used to enjoy soup from a can, until I started making my own soups, then they tasted too bland…not good enough anymore!

I had a special request to post my recipe for Italian Wedding soup so that is the one I am going to post first even though I am making my friend Jen’s moms French Soup this evening for supper.

It is your lucky day because its going to be a 2-for-1 and I will post both.

Italian Wedding Soup

According to Wikipedia: “The term “wedding soup” is a mistranslation of the Italian language, minestra maritata (“married soup”), which is a reference to the fact that green vegetables and meat go well together.”

Now be prepared. I do not measure when I make up a recipe. I had had wedding soup at restaurants and liked it fine but it wasn’t hearty enough for me. I knew it was a chicken broth based soup with meatballs, spinach and noodles but that was all that was in there and I wanted more.

I started by making my own chicken stock. You can do this by putting a few bone-in chicken breasts, thighs or wings in a stock pot, filling with water and adding carrots, celery and an onion. What I use instead is a leftover chicken carcass. Since I work shift work I tend to buy a lot of those pre-cooked BBQ chickens at the grocery store. We eat the breast meat and then I throw the carcass in a Ziploc bag for when I want to make soup. Now you do not need to do this at all, the boxes or cans of chicken broth will suffice however, making your own has so much more flavor and will therefore make a better soup.

If you do make your own, try to do this first step the day before you want to make the soup. That way the broth can chill and you can skim all the fat off the top.

Keep all the meat that falls off the bones (you may need to pick through the bones to find it all). We will add this back into the soup later.

Now to make the meatballs. I use lean beef and add panco bread crumbs (just enough to bind the meat), parsley (fresh if i have it dried if I don’t), fresh garlic and grated parmesan cheese. Add as much of these ingredients as you like. For a pound of beef I used a around 2Tbsps of parsley, 1tsp of garlic and about 1/3cup of parm cheese. Its all about your personal tastes.

After mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl, roll into teeny weeny balls. I make them very small so that when you have a spoonful of soup you taste everything…not just beef.

Cook these in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Drain off the grease and place into a bowl with paper towels to soak up any extra left over grease.  Set aside.

Put stockpot of broth onto the stovetop. You will want around 6 cups of liquid in the pot. If you taste it and find its not ‘chickeney’ enough just add a teaspoon or 2 of chicken bouillon granules (or a chicken bouillon cube diluted in hot water).

In a food processor grate some carrot, onion and celery into small pieces. Add to broth.

Add the chicken and meatballs to the broth.

The first time I made this soup I used Orzo noodles. I found these were too large once they absorbed the liquid. The second time I used Peperini noodles. These look like a bag of sand and can be found in the dry pasta section. They turned out to be the perfect size, reminiscent of star noodles from Campbells Chicken and Stars soup from when I was a kid.  Add your choice of noodles to the pot.

Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The last step is to add the spinach. You only want this to wilt but retain its bright green color.  Add the spinach to the pot about 3 minutes before eating.

Serve immediately. This is a time consuming recipe, about an hour or so from start to finish but believe me…it is A-MA-Zing and you will crave it on cold days. It freezes very well but if you are planning to freeze it I would leave out the spinach and only add it when you reheat to serve.

I hope you love this soup as much as I do!

Jen’s Moms French Soup

I have no idea why this is called a French Soup. Jen and her family are not french, they don’t speak french nor do I believe they understand much french. I know Jen loves french fries and i’m pretty sure there has probably been a little french kissing and french salad dressing (not at the same time I hope!). Jen swears this is the best soup when you are sick to help make you feel better.

It is a simple recipe and I will give it to you exactly as she had given it to me.

1 900ml box of chicken broth

1 onion, cut in 4 pieces

1 carrot, cut in 3 pieces

1 rib of celery, cut in 4 pieces

1 large can of diced tomatoes, put in blender

1/4 cup of rice

1/4 cup of barley

1 pkg chicken noodle soup mix

Add onion, carrot and celery pieces to chicken broth, simmer for 1 hour.  Remove previous ingredients from the broth and add remaining ingredients.  Simmer until everything is tender. Add water if necessary.

The only modifications I made were that i put the onion, carrot and celery in the food processor and left them in the broth. I wanted to actually have the veggies in the soup, not just the flavor.  Also, I just brought the broth to a boil and added everything (plus 2 cups of water), gave it a stir and reduced the heat to med-low and simmered for 40 minutes.

It was perfect. Just before eating I added a dollop of butter (to make it a little creamy) and a sprinkle of parsley.

MMMMM!!! So satisfying. I can see why she loves it as much as she does. Next time I will make biscuits to go along with it.

Another modification that could be made is…since there is no meat in the soup you could use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and VOILA, you’ll have a 100% vegetarian soup!

love, peace and chicken grease

-A Cooped Up Chick