A Spicy Cream of Tomato Soup for a Little Comfort

I love comfort foods like soup, stews and other familiar childhood favorites my Mom made. It’s something I crave when I’ve been away from home for a while, when the temperatures start to drop or during a rainy day. I especially love Panera’s cream of tomato soup, it’s so heart warming and delicious and figured why not save a little money and make my own. I had dozens of tomatoes that I grew into late October this year and had to use them up so made a spicy cream of tomato soup for a little comfort.

bowl of cream of tomato coup topped with croutons and served with side of grilled cheese

It was chilly, rainy afternoon and those tomatoes on my counter top weren’t going anywhere. I made several tomato galettes and gave dozens of tomatoes away and was determined to make a soup similar to Paneras’. Now I didn’t get their recipe; I have a few cookbooks and looked up the standard tomato soup recipe and adjusted ingredients to what I thought would taste like my old favorite. Needless to say, I learned a few lessons along the way.

cooking chopped tomatoes in pot

First, you have a remove the tomato seeds. I like a smoother soup with chunky bits of tomatoes but there were just too many seeds and chunks. I cut the tomatoes into big cubes and cooked it down until tender. If you like a chunkier soup with a bite to it, don’t worry about removing seeds. I also added a whole diced jalapeno with seeds but don’t think that affected texture to much. Next, if you want the flavor of a pepper but not all the heat, add it whole. I dropped in a whole habanero for a more spicy soup which can be easily removed with tongs. You’ll find that if you don’t cut it or puncture it you’ll get more pepper flavor without all the fire! This turned out hot but also enjoyable.

box of low sodium chicken stock

Lastly, make sure you have all the ingredients on hand and do all your prep before you start cooking! I thought I had vegetable stock but had to use chicken stock instead. I’m not a vegetarian but did want to make a vegetarian soup. The chicken stock will give it more flavor but for me, it’s really not necessary adding meat products to a tomato soup. Next time I’ll make it with vegetable stock and see if there’s a difference in flavor. I have been eliminating meat lately so I guess it’s good that I got rid of the chicken stock. If you want to make a vegetarian version then use vegetable stock instead, otherwise, stick to this recipe.

tomato soup ingredients stewing in enamel pot

By this point I was less than a half hour in and the soup was coming together nicely! The house smelled so good…

cream of tomato soup in pot with ladle

So how do you turn that chunky tomato stew into a nice, smooth soup? Use a blender or an inversion blender. I used my regular Blendec blender to puree everything a few cups at a time. My blender is pretty powerful but think any blender will do. If you have an inversion blender then this step will be much easier, just blend everything in the same pot (just be sure to review the thyme sprigs). Another tip is to use a kitchen towel over lid when blending to avoid splatter. The soup is hot so you don’t want that hot liquid all over you.

bowl of cream of tomato soup topped with croutons and side of grilled cheese
No, I didn’t make those croutons! πŸ˜‰ Just used regular salad garlic croutons

You can make your own croutons but I just topped soup with garlic seasoned croutons I use for salad. I really love how this turned out! I wouldn’t say it tasted exactly like Panera’s but it was pretty close! Next time I’ll use a cheesecloth or wash all the tomato seeds away.

bowl of cream of tomato soup topped with croutons

It was perfect with my grilled cheddar cheese sandwich. Nothing fancy, just slices of cheddar cheese between sourdough sliced bread. I have this Cuisinart sandwich press which makes yummy, hot sandwiches. I paid less than $20 for mine years ago and love it. The cheese melts so nicely and bread gets chewy and crispy. This spicy cream of tomato soup is one to have on repeat – I know I’m definitely making this again, especially during the cold months ahead. Do you make your own soups? What’s your favorite soup recipe?

Spicy Cream of Tomato Soup

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Lunch, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: comfort food, healthy, soup, tomato
Servings: 4
Author: Maria

Equipment

  • Blender or Inversion Blender

Ingredients

  • 10 Med Roma Tomatoes seeded, cubed
  • 1 Med Yellow Onion diced
  • 1 Med Jalapeno diced
  • 1 Small Habanero
  • 10 Sprigs Thyme
  • 2 Cloves Garlic crushed
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1/3 cup Cream
  • 1 Quart Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock

Instructions

  • In a heavy pot over medium heat, heat olive oil and saute onions until a bit translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add tomato paste, garlic and stir for a couple of minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, jalapeno, thyme, salt & pepper and cook until tomatoes are soft and tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock and stir. Taste mixture and adjust salt & pepper to taste if needed. Let mixture come to a boil and then let simmer for 10 min.
  • Remove sprigs of thyme from pot and discard. Carefully fill blender with mixture, about half way full. Cover and blend until tomato soup is smooth. Repeat this step until you've blended all the tomatoes. If you have an inversion blender, blend the tomatoes in pot until you've reached desired consistency.
  • If you used a blender, transfer the soup into original pot and stir in cream slowly and simmer for a few minutes. Serve soup in bowl and top with croutons.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

I haven’t been cooking much lately. After the buzz of the holidays faded, I got hit with a severe cold and just didn’t have much energy for anything. All I wanted to do was lounge out in my pajamas and get under the covers with a good book or movie. Take out, juice cleanses, canned soups and anything low effort was at the top of my list for dinner, besides, I was still feeling a little guilty about all the rich foods I had eaten weeks prior. Then came the bitter cold of last weeks Polar Vortex and knew I’d spend several days indoors. I decided to make a pot of chili last week that brought me back to life and next up was this spicy chicken noodle soup recipe! There’s just something about having a hot bowl of homemade stew or soup that takes the chill out of your bones and makes you feel all warm and cozy inside.
pot_chicken_noodle
This recipe is quick and easy and pretty straight forward. It’s definitely something you can knock out after a long day at work or the weekend. This isn’t your typical American style chicken noodle soup but one with roots in Caribbean and umm Asia! Cumin, oregano, achiote (annatto) and garlic flavors with Asian rice noodles and Thai peppers! A mash up of sorts, part Dominican, part Asian, I call it Dominicasian cuisine! The flavors are all Latin though but with a couple of Asian ingredients because well, it’s what I had and sometimes you just work with what you got! Any kind of noodles would work here, its all a matter of what you like. I would have used egg noodles or fideos (Spanish for noodles, usually very thin) if I had any.

chicken_noodle

Note: If you can’t find Adobo with cumin, use regular adobo and add 1/2 tsp of cumin. Also, recipe includes cilantro which I forgot to add when I made this. Cilantro will really brighten flavor up so be sure to add.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings: 6
Author: Maria

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 large carrots sliced
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 2 tsp Adobo with cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3 dried Thai chiles
  • 1/2 envelop/packet of Sazon with Achiote Annato
  • 1/4 or 1/2 in bone cooked chicken in pieces
  • 5 oz rice noodles about 1/2 pkg
  • few sprigs of cilantro

Instructions

  • Heat up canola oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and stir.
  • Add the water, chicken bouillon, carrots, and the rest of the ingredients except the noodles. Let the soup come to a boil.
  • Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add the noodles and cook for another 7 minutes until noodles are tender. Lower the heat and let simmer then serve.

Comfort Foods: Spicy Soups from Around the World

Five spicy soups I’ve been wanting to make and now is the time! The weather here has been a little strange which has become the norm these days. One day its in the 20’s then it shoots up to 60 then back down to the 30s! Who can dress for this weather? Well one thing is for sure, Winter is here to stay for a while so stock up on your veggies and spices and let’s take a world soup journey. First up is an American nod to Mexico, then a tour of Asia and finally a pit stop in the sunny Caribbean…we can dream can’ t we? So get comfy in your over-sized sweater and thick wool socks and curl up to these awesome spicy soup recipes.

1. Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup from A Beautiful Mess. I can just taste the silky smooth sweet potato balanced with the spicy, smokey chipotle and looks so easy to make!

Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

2. Indian Spiced Chicken Turmeric Soup from Spicie Foodie. I love Indian spice flavors and this soup is healthy and good for you. Studies show that turmeric has cancer fighting properties so get your fill here.

Indian_Spiced_Turmeric_Soup04

3. Yunnan Beef Stew from Lady and Pups. Just look at it, how can you resist this delicious bowl of short ribs, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and mint? Soul soothing!

4. Korean Spicy Green Onion Beef Soup, Yuk Gae Jahng from Week of Menus. This is my go to soup when ever I go to little Korea in NYC. This soup is peppery, bold and heart warming.

spicy_Korean_soup

5. Jamaican Pepper Pot Stew from My Wooden Spoons. This soup is gorgeous and just waiting to be devoured! Add a scotch bonnet pepper to the pot for extra heat!

jamaican_pepper_pot

Spicy Cream of Tomato Soup with Chicken and Pasta

One of the things that always comforts me on a cold, rainy day is a hearty soup. It was pouring out this past Sunday and chilly in the 40’s so soup was perfect for dinner and decided on this creamy tomato soup with chicken and pasta. I was inspired by the chicken tomato soup with orzo served at Hale & Hearty, a popular soups and salads chain in NYC area. I order that soup every time I go there! It’s so good but sometimes just don’t feel like dishing out $7 for an itty bitty cup of soup so made a whole pot of it, enough for 6 servings! I’ve had it twice already and still have lots more, which I froze, and all for hmm, let’s see, about the same price!

I of course didn’t have the recipe but thought I’d try to make something similar. I also made it spicy and it was perfect! I used rigatoni pasta because that’s what I had on hand but this soup would pretty much work with any pasta, just as long as you don’t use too much. Even lasagna would work if you break it up into pieces. The soup should be nice and thick, not too runny and the focus should be the tomatoes, so less pasta is better. I also had to make it a little spicy which the chain’s version is not but it’s exactly what I needed. The rain pounding on the windows outside, the chill indoors (because I refused to turn on the heat!!) and the hot, spicy soup was so nice and delicious.

I’ve also been fighting off allergies for a while now and soup just always does the trick in helping me feel better and clearing up the sinuses. Give this one a try and let me know what you think. I haven’t made too many soups this year because the weather has been so odd here. We had temperatures in the 70s in January, last week it reached 80 then plunged into the 40s…really freaky but you know, I adjust. Next time I’ll make pozole, which I’ve been putting off…that recipe is a bit daunting but I’ll do it, I’m determined! Next is a chicken tortilla soup for Cinco de Mayo so stay tuned!

Cream of Tomato Soup with Chicken and Pasta
serves 4-6

1-2 boneless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
16 oz can of tomato sauce
2 cups of chicken broth
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp of oregano
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup of buffalo wing sauce, like Frank’s
2 tbsp of cayenne pepper sauce
1-2 cups of uncooked rigatoni pasta

1. Season a pot of water with salt, to taste, and bring to boil. Add the chicken until its completely cooked through.When chicken is done, shred it with a fork.

2. In a separate large pot heat up the oil on medium heat, add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and stir, then add the shredded chicken. Next add both cans of tomatoes, the chicken broth, and the cream and stir well. As mixture is coming to boil add the herbs, salt, hot sauces and pasta. Stir well and let soup cook for 10-15 minutes until the pasta is very tender.

3. Serve with crusty Italian bread and sprinkle with a bit of grated parmesan cheese if you like.