It’s been bitter cold in Chicago (and most of the rest of the country) the past few days. So cold that one of my Facebook friends posted a picture of an icicle on her eyelash – for real. And of course on the coldest day of the winter thus far, I spent all day running errands with the kids in tow. We were all frozen by the time we got home so I knew only my most favorite comfort food would do the trick to warm our bellies and thaw us out.
I’m a big fan of the gelatinous goo that comes out of the can. In my world, there’s nothing better than a big bowl of Campbell’s served with Kraft American cheese on white bread. But some days, it’s nice to be a grown up and eat food that is a bit more real.
This soup definitely hit the spot. It had a rich, smoky undertone due to the bacon (BACON!). The Fruitaholic happily slurped down 2 bowls, even after telling me that he doesn’t like tomato soup. I didn’t change much about the recipe. I added an extra slice of bacon so that I’d have some to garnish the soup with, and I added a couple of carrots to up the veggie factor. I substituted popcorn for the croutons because I had some on hand and thought they added a nice crunch. I didn’t use the creme fraiche but didn’t feel as though I was missing anything by not including it, but feel free to garnish as you see fit.
- 5 Slices Thick Cut Bacon, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. Butter
- 4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 3 Carrots, chopped
- 3 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
- 1 Tbsp. Flour
- 4 Cups Chicken Stock
- 2 Sprigs Thyme
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 28 oz. Can Whole, Peeled Tomatoes in Juice, crushed by hand (I used San Marzano)
- 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
- Snipped Chives, for garnish
- Popped Popcorn, for garnish (I used Trader Joe's Popcorn with Herbs and Spices)
Add chopped bacon to a large saucepan and heat over medium until fat has rendered and bacon is crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove a spoonful or two of the bacon and set aside to use for garnish.
Increase the temperature to medium-high and add the butter. When melted, add the garlic, onion and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add the flour, stir until combined, and cook an additional 2 minutes.
Add the chicken stock, thyme, bay lea and tomatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce temperature to medium-low. Cook until slightly reduced, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth then stir in the cream.
Garnish individual bowls with reserved bacon bits, popcorn and chives.
Slightly adapted from Saveur