Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Soup's On!

Is there anything better (or easier) than homemade soup? Really, chop/prep the ingredients, combine in soup pot, and simmer on the stove while you do other things. Easy! And, homemade soup tastes infinitely better than anything out of a can. Plus, there is way, way less sodium in soup you make yourself. Oh, and it happens to be a sneak-tastic way to get my veg scrutinizer to eat vegetables that he otherwise wouldn't willingly try. So, since Easter, I've made Potato Leek, Creamy Cauliflower, and today... 4B's Tomato Soup (Erik despises tomatoes).

Potato Leek is easier than pie, and my mom's fave. She actually prepped that one after Easter brunch by chopping up about six potatoes, and three large leeks (all, even the green part), tossed them in my soup kettle, and covered with water. It simmered for about an hour, then I seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper, and whirred it up in my blender in batches. Voila! Dinner full of veg that E wouldn't usually eat (well, the leeks anyway).

I did the Creamy Cauliflower in similar fashion, cleaning and separating into florets, one head of cauliflower. I tossed that into a hot soup pot with 2 Tbs. of butter and about 1/3 cup of tiny star-shaped pasta. I browned that up, then added hot water to cover and simmered until the cauli was soft. Then I tossed in a can of navy beans (with bacon) for about 10 mins of simmering, a little garlic, celery salt and pepper, and whirred batches in my blender. Erik inhaled two bowls and said, "Hmm... I guess that I do like cauliflower. I thought I didn't."
(clockwise in pic: 4B's tomato regular and creamy, E enjoying his soup, E prepping cheese sammies to go with leek onion soup, and creamy cauliflower with cheese crisps)

And, so... on to an actual recipe! The 4B's is a popular restaurant chain in Montana, where we had this fabulous soup with Jamie and John on a summer road trip, nearly six years ago. I found the recipe online, posted by a local paper in Havre, MT. I'm going to follow it pretty closely, except for the cream part. To lighten up this one, I'm going to employ my trusty blender to "cream" the soup. My second reason for the blending is to get Erik to love tomatoes (which he's already informed me that he doesn't like and won't eat). Blending those tomatoes will make the soup creamy, yummy, and chunk-free!

4B's Tomato Soup (adapted from the recipe posted here, plus, I doubled the recipe since I had enough ingredients to do so!)
2 28-oz. cans of diced tomatoes (I used organic)

18 oz. chicken broth (I used low-sodium)

4 Tbs. butter

4 Tbs. sugar

2 Tbs. chopped onion

2 pinches of baking soda

Combine ingredients in a soup pot, bring to a low boil over medium-high, and then reduce to low to simmer for one hour. Then comes the cream part...

2 c. half and half
- (and being doubled, if you are following the real recipe, this should be 4 c. half and half or cream - yikes!)

Heat the half and half in the microwave until nearly boiling, then add to tomato mixture (not the other way around) before serving.

I blended about 1/2 of the tomato mixture in the blender first, than added some of it back to the pot, which made the soup creamy without all the fat of the 4 c. of half and half (I only used 2c.), then add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!! I also separated a completely creamed amount out for Erik, and left the chunkier soup for the rest of us, so E's did have more of the half and half in it as well.

The verdict... Erik LOVED the creamy version of the 4B's soup! And, I think that tossing in a handful of carrots to simmer for the hour (for sweetness) and maybe blending in white beans would lend creaminess without the fat of half and half and add protein and vitamins — I'll definitely try that next time!


Jerrie said...

oh so that's how you did it. I think I'll try this one weekend when I have a house full of boys. Might be a nice change from taco soup. :)

I may even like it since it has the Erik seal of approval.

Jamie said...

The 4B's are closed :( When we were back there just after X-mas I realized they were gone. So sad. Kathy does a yummy "lighter" version of the soup too. I'm glad E liked it. I love all your creative ways to get him to eat his veggies. You are a good Mama and cook!

-K said...

Oh, no! That's sad. I found so many people raving and reminiscing online about this soup recipe. Well, now I'm really glad I have it.


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