What is for dinner when you realize you have an entire package of cherry tomatoes from Costco near the back of the fridge that really need to be eaten now?
You make a roasted creamy tomato soup. It's even better if you have a couple of chicken breasts on hand, which Saucy did.
Warning: this is a non-recipe type of recipe. You can really wing it. General amounts are given but you can be more or less specific about how you go about this. Saucy was working with what she had on hand.
You will need: 1.5-2 pounds cherry tomatoes, some fresh garlic cloves, olive oil and fresh ground pepper
Cut the tomatoes in half and place them, cut side up, on a baking sheet along with a clove or two of unpeeled garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and lightly grind pepper over all of it. Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour, while you put together your chicken and stock.
Step number two: prepare your chicken by poaching it.
You will need: water, some celery stalks, at least a half of an onion, some peppercorns, a bay leaf or some parsley flakes, two skinned/boneless chicken breasts
In a large saucepan, bring four cups of water to a boil along with some chopped onion, celery, peppercorns and a bay leaf or a generous shaking of parsley flakes. Reduce heat to medium, cover and let the flavour blend for about fifteen minutes before adding the chicken breasts. The key point here is to poach the chicken, not boil it. Add the chicken breasts to the saucepan and cover with lid, simmering for 15-20 minutes over medium heat. Remove a breast to check for doneness: cut it open and it should be thoroughly cooked and tender (no pink meat and not overcooked to toughness). If the chicken is ready, remove it from the stock and reserve for the finished soup. Strain the onion and celery mixture from the stock into a large measuring cup. See how some of the water reduced down during cooking? There's just over three cups of stock ready for the soup.
Step number three: prepare the base of the soup.
You will need: olive oil, the roasted tomatoes and garlic, at least half of a finely chopped onion
Remove this cooked tomato mixture from the pot and put it into a blender or food processor. Pulse on medium until blended/pulverized. The more you pulse, the smoother and creamier your soup will be.
Optional step: before returning the mixture to the pot, you may wish to strain for seeds and skin. Saucy found that step to be unnecessary after her aggressive blending and besides, she likes a hearty soup.
Step number four: finish the soup
You will need: the chicken stock, some heavy cream, the diced poached chicken, salt and pepper to taste
Place your blended tomato mixture back into the large pot. Stir in the strained chicken stock. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about thirty minutes. The soup will naturally reduce and thicken due to the starch and sugars in the tomatoes, no need to add flour or any thickening agent. Before serving, stir some heavy cream into the soup. You can add as little as 1/4 cup or as much as 3/4 cup... depending on how creamy you like this soup to be and how many calories you are willing to take in. Saucy was fairly liberal with the cream. You will need to add salt to offset the sweetness of the cream, so season to taste carefully.
Lastly, stir in the diced chicken pieces and ladle into bowls for serving. You can garnish with croutons, grated cheese, a dollop more cream, parsley, or crackers.
For this meal, garnished with a baked parmesan crisp (how easy are these... pile a tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes until crispy and bubbly - they are like insta-crackers).
Serve with homemade biscuits or cheese toast. Yes, you can do this. You can totally do this.