French Tomato Soup with Gruyere (vegetarian)
1 tbs butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tbs fresh thyme
12 fresh ripe tomatoes
2 tbs tomato paste
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt, pepper to taste
Gruyere cheese, 6 slices
Crunchy french bread, 6 slices toasted
Melt butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until completely soft and translucent, 8 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high, add tomato paste. Continue cooking, stirring often, until paste has begun to caramelize in spots, about 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes with juices, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, salt and pepper, and 4 cups water to pot. Increase heat to high and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer until flavors meld and soup reduces by 1/3rd. Remove soup from heat and using a stick blender, or in small batches in a conventional blender, puree until very smooth. Taste and season with any additional salt and pepper.
To serve, top soup with a slice of crunchy french bread and slice of cheese. In an oven safe bowl, broil under high heat until cheese is browned and bubbling.
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