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creamless creamy tomato soup

December 20, 2010

So I, um, kinda love Halloween. I may or may not have continued trick-or-treating until I was inappropriately old and people started giving me weird looks when I asked them for candy. Sadly, though, my street is way too busy for us to ever get a single trick-or-treater, ever, and Chris’s house is just a little too isolated for many kids to bother, so I’ve yet to be able to hand out my own candy to make up for my inability to get some for myself.

However, I did decide to compensate this year by making a themed dinner. I’m a pretty big fan of such nerdy endeavors—a couple of years ago, I used up most of a bottle of green food coloring on St. Patrick’s Day. And no, the resulting meal was not particularly appetizing, but that’s not the point.The thing is, though, if you Google “Halloween meals,” most of what shows up is desserts, because clearly the one thing kids need on Halloween is *more* sugar.

I did find one idea, though, that mentioned serving “blood” soup with grilled cheese. So that’s what we did! Chris had been wanting to try this recipe for a while, and it was really pretty yummy (despite the fact that I’m not a huge soup person). It wasn’t too acidic, and it was nice and smooth and, as advertised, creamy. We served it with orange-cheese-and-dark-rye grilled cheeses that we cut into ghosts and cats with cookie cutters. Dork team, assemble!

Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped medium
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
pinch hot red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
2 28-oz. cans whole tomatoes packed in juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 large slices good-quality sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and their juice. Using potato masher, mash until no pieces bigger than 2 inches remain. Stir in sugar and bread; bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.
2. Transfer half of soup to blender. Add 1 tablespoon oil and process until soup is smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and repeat with remaining soup and oil. Rinse out Dutch oven [uhhh, no] and return soup to pot. Stir in chicken broth and brandy (if using). Return soup to boil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve soup in individual bowls. Sprinkle each portion with pepper and chives and drizzle with olive oil.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated

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