Tomato Soup

We didn't know we loved tomato soup until it was condensed it and put in a can. That's when it became a presence on everyone's table, and a staple in our supply pantries. If you grew up loving the ready-made, canned variety then this recipe for cream of tomato soup is a must try. Crushed tomatoes add brightness and body; bacon provides depth; and crème fraîche infuses luxuriousness.

Especially when accompanied with a Grilled Cheese sandwich!



4 slices thick-cut bacon, finely chopped
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. flour
4 cups chicken stock
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 (15-oz.) can whole, peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
¼ cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Crème fraîche, croutons, and finely chopped chives, to garnish

Heat bacon in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat, and cook until its fat renders and bacon is crisp, about 15 minutes. Add butter, and increase temperature to medium-high; add garlic, onion, and carrot, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add flour, and cook, stirring until smooth, about 2 minutes more. Add stock, thyme, bay leaf, and tomatoes, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and purée; return to saucepan, and stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls; dollop with crème fraîche, and sprinkle with croutons and chives.