I’ve been thinking about Cream of Tomato Soup a lot lately. I haven’t had it in years and the last time was most likely Campbell’s. The occasion for making it came up with a party I was having for my daughter Margot.
She recently became a designer for Keep Collective, a jewelry company. We invited family and friends local to me (she lives in Philadelphia) for a Saturday afternoon, including a light lunch. We had about a dozen acceptances. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to make a lovely ladies’ lunch.
Scallion and Parsley Humus
Cream of Tomato Soup
Grilled Cheddar Cheese on Rye
Turkey Club Sandwiches
Triple Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate Almond Coconut Biscotti
Banana Bread Biscotti
Passion Fruit Chocolate Biscotti
The soup and sandwiches were a big hit. It was a chilly day and everyone was oohing and awing about comfort food. I kept the soup in the crockpot on low to easily fill and refill mugs. No utensils – all finger foods!
We had a great afternoon and everyone stayed a long time. I think they departed around 7pm – always a sign of a good party when guests stay longer than expected!
Cream of Tomato Soup
Cream of Tomato soup was one of my favorite soups growing up. This recipe packs lots of natural tomato sweetness and goes perfectly with grilled cheese sandwiches!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 55 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 2 quarts
- Category: Soup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large celery stalk, sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 cup dry white wine
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 can (14.5) ounces fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1 bouquet garni (3 parsley sprigs, 20 thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves, 6 pepper corns securely wrapped in cheesecloth)
1 cup heavy cream
Melt the butter in a 7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat.
Once the butter foams, stir in the onion, celery, carrot, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat if the onions are browning.
Stir in the garlic and cayenne and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the wine and bring to a boil, reduce to ¼ cup.
Stir in the crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, stock or water and bouquet garni.
Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes.
Remove and discard bouquet garni,
Cool off heat for 15 minutes.
Pour the soup in batches into a blender or food processor, filling the container halfway or less. Cover, remove the top insert to allow for steam to escape, but cover that hole with a folded over towel.
Place into a clean container and continue pureeing until all the soup is smooth. Stir in the heavy cream.
Reheat and serve.
See our video on how to safely puree hot foods.
When I cleaned out the pantry during my reorganization spree this month, I came across a jar of brined green peppercorns and I was inspired to make Steak with Green Peppercorn Sauce. This is a favorite dish of
ours, and one I had for the first time on our honeymoon at Euphemia Haye in Longboat Key. That was almost 35 years ago and I see the steak is still on the menu!
I decided on filet mignon for the steak and spinach and roasted butternut squash as the sides. I had previously picked up a bag of mini assorted bell peppers and thought they would make an interesting twist on this recipe. I like to prep meals in advance, this makes dinner less hectic and it also means that many of the pots and pans and cooking utensils are already washed.
Spinach contains lots of water and I prefer to precook it to get rid of excess moisture, which thins the sauce. Place the spinach in a large saucepan with a little cold water, cover and cook over medium-high heat until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
Remove the tops of six of the mini peppers (mixing up the yellow, orange and red) and then use a vegetable parer to scoop out the seeds and ribs. Slice them into thin rings and toss them into a sauté pan with a little olive oil and unsalted butter (about 1 tablespoon each), a small minced shallot, about a tablespoon of green peppercorns, a few sprigs of fresh thyme and good covered for a few minutes. Pour in a little dry white wine (1/2 cup) and reduce bit before adding a cup of heavy cream. The sauce is ready once it comes to a rapid boil.
I had purchased already cut butternut squash, which I tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbes de Provence in a small baking dish. Pop the squash, spinach and sauce went into the fridge for later.
Season both sides of the filets with lots of freshly ground pepper and salt and then place them in a super hot sauté pan with a little olive oil and cook two minutes each side. To finish the cooking, po the pan in a 350 degree F preheated oven for 10 minutes for medium rare.
Let the filets sit on a cutting board and add 1/4 cup bourbon to the sauté pan. To soften the harshness of the alcohol, I lit the bourbon and let it burn out.
Stir in the sauce (removing the thyme sprigs) and reheat.
Slice the meat and spoon the peppers over the top. Stir in the spinach to the remaining sauce and reheat. Place the creamed spinach around the sliced meat and then scattered the roasted squash on top of that.
This is a rich dinner, one you might consider making for a special occasion.
Steak au Poivre
This recipe uses brined green peppercorns, freshly ground black pepper and sliced fresh mini bell peppers for a little twist on this classic recipe. Prep this dish in advance to make clean up easy.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
- Yield: 4 portions
- Category: Beef
- Method: Saute
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 6 whole mini bell peppers, tops, inner ribs and seeds removed
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon drained brined green peppercorns
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 eight-ounce filet mignon steaks
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- Melt the butter with the oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
- Stir in the peppers, shallots, peppercorns, thyme and salt; cover and sweat for 3 minutes.
- Add the wine and boil for a couple of minutes.
- Add the cream and cook until it comes to a rapid boil.
- Remove to a storage container.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Generously season both sides of the steaks with the salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil over high heat.
- Add the steaks when the oil is almost smoking and cook for 2 minutes per side.
- Pop in the oven for 10 minutes for medium rare.
- Remove to a cutting board to rest.
- PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
- Add the bourbon to the meat pan, ignite and let burn. Add the sauce, discarding the thyme sprigs, to the pan and reheat.
- Slice the meat, place on a warm platter and cover with the peppers from the sauce.
- Stir the spinach into the sauce and reheat. Place the spinach along the outside of the sliced steak.