I believe soup is the ultimate comfort food. It’s perfect for when you are sick and can hardly digest anything else and it’s also perfect for warming up during the colder months. In winter, I absolutely love ending my day with a bowl of steaming hot soup. It warms my body up and helps me relax before going to bed. And you can make a large batch of it at once so that you have enough to last you the whole week!
I love soups but it wasn’t always that way. When I was younger my mother would often serve us canned soup for dinner because she was working hard and didn’t have much time left over for cooking us full course meals. And the canned soup was, and still is, a heavily utilized option for many of those who don’t have the luxury of time or money.
But to be honest, I dreaded the nights we would eat canned chicken soup or tomato soups for dinners. They never tasted right for me. No matter how much of her own seasonings my mother would put in the soup, the end result was always bland and not satisfactory in the slightest. These soups never made me feel full after eating them.
Now I think I know the answer to why I felt like that: the ingredients the soup contained weren’t there to provide a nutritious meal or to give you a taste of a deep flavoring, they were there to create an illusion of being a real food using the cheapest ingredients possible. And the worst offender of them all is MSG. The dreaded Monosodium Glutamate is added to many store-bought foods to make them tastier but the effects it has on our bodies is still debatable. I personally avoid MSG as much as I can because my stomach feels funny after ingesting a lot if and I even become slightly lightheaded! I think that’s where my dislike of canned soups in my childhood came from. That being said, other people might have better tolerance for MSG than I do.
But let’s go back to the homemade soups. To extract that deep flavor without using artificial MSG I rely heavily on chicken stock – also homemade, of course! It’s the key to making your soup taste very rich and savory in a natural way. For this tomato basil soup, I also use cheese to give it a slight saltiness that completments well the acidity of the tomatoes. The smooth finish is achieved by adding a little bit of cream. It’s a very simple soup and if you have some leftover chicken stock then I urge you to give it a try!
- a large saucepan
- a whisk
- a wooden spoon
- a cheese grater
- a sharp knife
- a ladle
- 4 cups of chicken stock (how to make chicken stock)
- 3 ½ cups of tomato sauce
- ¼ cup of tomato paste
- 1 ½ T. of honey OR 2 T. of whole cane sugar
- 2 T. of butter
- 1 T. of garlic powder
- 1 T. of onion powder
- 1 T. of dried oregano
- 1 T. of dried basil
- 1 T. of dried parsley
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup of cream
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
- fresh basil for garnish
- Use a large saucepan to whisk together the chicken stock, tomato sauce, tomato paste, honey, and all the dried seasonings.
- Heat over medium to high heat until the soup begins simmering.
- Turn off the heat and add in the butter. Stir with a wooden spoon until it is completely melted.
- Add the cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese in small handfuls, stirring after each one. This way the cheese will melt into the soup properly. Leave some parmesan cheese for garnish.
- Add the milk and the cream. Stir to combine. If the soup is not creamy enough feel free to add some more.
- The soup is now ready. Ladle it into bowls and decorate with chopped fresh basil and the leftover parmesan.
- Serve hot.
Enjoy your tomato soup with some lightly toasted and buttered sourdough bread!