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15 October 2012

Wha ... wha ... what? Whiskey tomato soup!

Last week I attempted to make soup from scratch. For the first time in my life. I'm much more of a baker than a cook (and certainly not a butcher or a candlestick maker!), but I had a version of whiskey tomato soup last fall in Annapolis, and I was eager to try my hand at it. 

After some internet searching, I happened upon a recipe that I thought sounded rather tasty. Of course, I made some modifications to the original recipe (as seen here), and I will certainly make more modifications in the future. I'm a bit of a soup snob -- especially since I don't really like soup -- so it's still needs a few adjustments to make me happy. 

Ingredients needed:
3 lbs (approx.) ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup olive oil, plus
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 (28 ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup Jameson Irish whiskey
1 1/2 cup heavy cream

The How-To:
 Roast your halved tomatoes first. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle olive oil, salt and pepper over the halves. Roast for 45 minutes.

In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and the butter for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Add Whiskey and Cream, and let simmer 10 minutes. During the last 5 minutes, use an immersion blender to chop up the larger chunks of tomato. 

Soup with no cream yet and some basil (which I deleted from this recipe).
Tomatoes ready to roast!
After the cream went in. 

The original recipe called for red pepper flakes as well as a large amount of basil. I got rid of the red pepper because it was definitely too spicy. I also got rid of a lot of the basil and only added some as garnish. While the original recipe instructed me to chop the tomatoes with a spoon while it simmered, I found the soup to be too chunky. And I like a chunky soup. I couldn't get them to break down as much as I would have preferred, so, the next time I make this (and there will be a next time!), I'll be using an immersion blender to break down some of those larger bits. I don't want it to be smooth, but less chunky would be ideal.

This soup is perfect for the coming fall weather. Especially with a big hunk of crusty bread ... mmmmmm ...
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