When I was a child, my favorite sick day treat was Campbell’s tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, with Kraft cheese, on Wonder bread. It was warm and comforting and I would dip the sandwich into the soup and feel much better. I tried that exact combination a few weeks ago, when I was feeling terrible and also nostalgic. Sadly, the memories did not live up to the reality.
Tomato soup can be many things. It can be chunky, smooth, spicy or not, creamy or tart, full of herbs or plain as day. I like mine creamy and thick, and sweet. Any homemade tomato soup beats out a canned version any day. The can of soup I made for myself was so dreadful that I tossed it.
Wichita has many delicious hand-made tomato soup variations. One of my favorites is at Watermark Books and Café, in College Hill. It is tangy and not sweet, but flavorful and comforting. I love the bits of tomato in the soup, and it pairs well with all of their sandwiches and salads.
Another beautiful tomato soup is made by La Gallette, in Delano. It is another savory variation, but creamy and delightful. I love to order it with a slice of potato pie and finish my lunch with one of their rich pastries.
My tomato bisque is sweet in comparison to most, and has a high proportion of cream to tomato. I like to change the herbs I use daily, from dill to basil, and fresh rosemary if it is available. It’s the easiest thing to make. Just stir things together and simmer.
Sometimes, comfort is just a pan, a whisk, and a few ingredients away. Don’t forget your grilled cheese sandwich!
Tomato Soup from Tanya's Soup Kitchen
- 2 small cans of tomato paste
- 4 cups water
- 3 cups whipping cream
- 1/2 tsp granulated garlic or 2 cloves minced fresh garlic
- 3-6 tablespoons of sugar (start with three and add more to taste if desired)
- 1 tsp dried herb of your choice (basil, dill, tarragon) OR 2 tsp minced fresh herb
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients except salt and pepper in a medium sized soup pot, using a whisk. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. Taste and season with salt and pepper, adding more sugar if you like. Cook on simmer for 15 -20 minutes, whisking. Serve hot. I garnish with grated parmesan cheese. At TSK, we like this soup on the sweet side. Serves 4-6.
This commentary originally aired during Morning Edition on 01/23/2015.