Friday, January 4, 2013

Tomato Toscano Soup

Today I’d like to share one of my own recipes for soup! It evolved out of a combination of making Trader Joe’s samples and some happy accidents. Aaron and I love to eat soup, especially in the winter (although we do make it in the summer, as our friends can tell you), and this is one of our favorite recipes. I really enjoy cooking soup because of how creative it is. I love throwing in a variety of different ingredients and seeing how it turns out! The base of this soup contains onions, garlic, and Trader Joe’s creamy tomato soup, and it can be elaborated and expanded into different types of soups, but that will be the subject of further blog posts. Today I am going to share with you the particular version that I have named Tomato Toscano Soup.

Tomato Toscano Soup commences with the magic three ingredients: a chopped onion, a few minced garlic cloves, and some extra virgin olive oil. I sauté all that in a stock pot. I always love starting a recipe out with one of my favorite all time smells…I cook this way as often as possible! I also add pepper to taste during this step.

While delightful smells begin to waft through the kitchen, I cook some rice on the side. I usually cook one cup of rice, or more, depending on how much soup I want to make. I appreciate a high ratio of rice to soup, so if you enjoy thinner soups, you could perhaps use ¾ of a cup of rice. Brown or white rice will work, but I really like using Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Medley, which contains some fun crunchy rice.

When the onion begins to soften, and the smaller pieces start to turn brown, it is time to add the tomato soup. I take a big shortcut here and pour in a carton or two (depending on how much soup you want to make) of Trader Joe’s organic creamy tomato soup. Next, I add a can of fire roasted diced green chiles from Trader Joe’s. They only sell 4 oz. cans of these delectable little gems, so I often add two cans. They work well in just about any soup using the tomato base.

I then mix in the rice I cooked beforehand, as well as a drained 15 oz. can of black beans. These two in combination give the soup a blast of protein, and make this a perfect dish to serve to vegetarian friends! Although Aaron and I would never want to be vegetarians full time (we like our steak and bacon way too much), we sometimes eat vegetarian dishes because they are typically cheaper, and because we have a handful of vegetarian friends.

The last step is to add in the toscano cheese. We buy pieces of this cheese, soaked in syrah, from Trader Joe’s. I usually buy a chunk that costs somewhere in the four dollar range. This is one of our favorite cheeses, and it is excellent in the soup as well as on its own with crackers! You should only add the cheese shortly before you plan on serving the soup, because otherwise too much of it will stick to the bottom of the stock pot. I cut the entire portion of cheese into small pieces, and toss it all into the pot.

The basic soup recipe makes enough for two people to eat a hearty dinner, and take the leftovers to work the next day. If I am having people over, I usually double the carton of soup, make 1 ½ cups of rice, use 2 cans of fire roasted green chiles, and add in about half a cup to a cup of frozen corn. This is an easy go to soup, and is especially tasty on cold winter evenings!

No comments:

Post a Comment