I baked bread again today. As a reward for my efforts, I was reminded why I don’t bake bread. Take a peek at Joy the Baker’s “Easy Spicy Garlic Bread in a Pot.” Doesn’t that recipe just draw you in? Almost force you to try it? The combination of garlic and crushed red pepper flakes was what sold me on it. That, and the word “easy” in the title. Those two things, and I thought it would just be the perfect accompaniment to the Roasted Tomato-Garlic Soup I was going to make.
It started out well.
Butter, herbs, garlic, crushed red pepper.
I don’t know where I went wrong. Maybe because I don’t have a stand mixer, so I tried to knead this all together with my hands and gave up before the 10-12 minutes suggested for the mixing machine? I doubt I’m as good as the stand mixer. I probably should have kneaded for 20 minutes. But the Little Guy was not having it. He doesn’t know about garlic and crushed red pepper flakes yet; he couldn’t understand.
So instead, I ended up with crusty, icky dough that didn’t rise. Maybe that was my problem. The yeast. It seemed to foam. Looking back, I’ll admit it was sort of lackluster foamishness. But I didn’t want to toss it and start again, I didn’t want to! So instead, here we are, with a sad-looking dough ball. When life gives you bad dough, you make biscuits. They turned out okay. They really weren’t terrific. I mean, clearly. Check them out below. They barely look cooked. However, I managed to eat two before we even had our meal, and then crumbled another into my soup.
But the soup. Ah, the soup. It was so, so good that it more than made up for the bread failure. Your favorite creamy tomato soup? This is better. Because you roast these tomatoes and this garlic, and you use skim milk rather than cream, so you’re practically guilt free.This recipe is from Domestic Diva, MD – an intriguing name, no? And her stories are pretty hilarious as well. I’ll be adding this recipe to my fat little recipe box in the kitchen cabinet above the radio – the little recipe box that goes downstairs with me during tornado warnings.
I modified the recipe in just the tiniest of ways, adding a couple tablespoons of sugar and 50% more carrots than were called for. I also salted the soup after it had simmered together into all its creamy deliciousness – but that’s less of a modification and more of a preparation method. I learned it from the Barefoot Contessa – she says you should always finish a dish with a little salt before serving, and possibly a squeeze of fresh lemon, too – to bring out all the flavors in the dish and to add a bit of brightness, respectively. I’m on board with her ideas.
Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup (my modifications included)
- Olive oil
- 2 whole bulbs garlic
- 2 lbs roma tomatoes
- Garlic Powder
- Dried Basil
- 1 1/2 c carrots, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 32 oz low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 4 tbsp cornstarch
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 2 c skim milk
- 2 Tbsp sugar (or to taste)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off tops of whole bulbs of garlic to expose the tops of the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast in oven until soft, approximately 35 minutes. Let cool.
- Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees. Quarter roma tomatoes and place in greased baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried basil. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until soft and slightly shrunken. There is no better way to create flavor in these often-bland grocery store staples!
- While tomatoes are roasting, coat bottom of a large stockpot with 2 tbsp olive oil. Add carrots and onions. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp dried basil. Saute for 15 minutes or until carrots begin to soften.
- Mix cornstarch into broth and add to the saucepan. Add in the roasted garlic cloves (you can squeeze them out or use a fork or spoon or your fingers; basically, get them out however you can – every last bit of squishy goodness), the roasted tomatoes, and tomato paste.
- Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes or until carrots become tender, stirring occasionally.
- Using an immersion blender or a blender, puree soup until your desired consistency. I like to keep small chunks of carrots intact.
- Return soup to stockpot and add milk. Add a couple tablespoons (to taste) of sugar and adjust salt as needed. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve garnished with fresh, grated Parmesan and minced fresh parsley.
Domestic Diva MD says (and she is correct): “This makes a lot of soup! Feel free to serve with your favorite grilled cheese, garnish with shredded mozzarella or parmesan, or freeze for later use.”
I don’t roast garlic often, so I don’t have a tried-and-true way to get every last bit of the cloves out. I started out using tongs and squeezing, because the bulbs were still hot to the touch. That worked for the cloves on the outside, but left the inner ones. So I got tough and held the bulb while carefully digging with a spoon. It worked much better!