Roasted Tomato Soup: Almost as easy as opening a can!

Roasted Tomato Soup (with the crispiest grilled cheese on the side)

Roasted Tomato Soup (with the crispiest grilled cheese on the side)

This is, by far, my favourite simple soup and is a staple in my house all year long.

It’s perfect served warm on a cold winter’s day or chilled, topped with a dollop of sour cream and a few fresh chives, in the sweltering heat of the summer.

All it takes is a bit of rough chopping, some roasting, and a quick trip into the blender and you’ve got the best darn tomato soup ever!

*Note: the only way to make this better is to serve it with a crispy, crunchy, cheesy grilled cheese


Roasted Tomato Soup

Serves 4 

15 plum tomatoes, halved, cored, and pulp removed
4–6 cloves garlic, unpeeled and whole
½ red onion, peeled and thickly sliced
5–7 sprigs thyme
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2–3 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon or a bit more balsamic, if needed 

Preheat your oven to 375F and toss the tomatoes, garlic, onion, and thyme on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Scatter the top with sugar and season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle the top of the vegetables with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss to coat. 

Pop the pan in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring about halfway through. 

Meanwhile, heat 2 cups of the stock in a large pot over medium-low heat.  When the vegetables are done, pick out the sprigs of thyme, carefully squash the roasted garlic out of its skin, discard the skin, and transfer all of those lovely veggies to the pot of stock.  Using an emersion or regular blender, blend the soup until it is smooth, adding more stock if needed.  Give the soup a taste and season with salt, pepper, and a little lemon or balsamic if needed.

Serve hot or chill for a lovely summery soup!

Rx: The World's Most Cold-Busting Soup

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Homemade super-health-ified chicken noodle soup that is approximately 87x better than the canned stuff but pretty much just as easy to prepare!


Lemon Ginger Chicken Soup

Serves 3–4

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, finely sliced
1­–2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 – 900ml carton low sodium chicken broth
1 ½ cups dry orzo pasta
2–3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked (a grocery store rotisserie bird is perfect for this!)
1 ½ cups chopped kale
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
½–1 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Finely sliced red Thai chilis, optional for garnish and spice

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat and add in the onions and celery.  Cook, stirring frequently, just until the onions begin to soften, about 1–2 minutes.  Add in the garlic, ginger, and turmeric and continue to cook for an additional minute.

Pour the carton of PC Blue Menu Chicken Broth over the aromatics along with ½ cup of water and increase the heat to high.  Bring the broth to a boil then stir in the orzo and cook for 5–6 minutes.  The pasta will still quite toothy at this point but that’s ok!

Meanwhile, remove the breasts from the whole chicken and chop or shred the meat.  If you are using President’s Choice Gluten-Free Fire-Roasted Chicken Breast Strips, simple give them a rough chop into bite-sized pieces.

When the pasta has reached that toothy consistency, toss the chicken into the pot along with the chopped kale and continue to boil for an additional 3–4 minutes or until the chicken is heated through, the orzo is fully cooked, and the kale has softened.

Just before serving, stir in the parsley, enough lemon juice to give the soup a bit of a zip, and season with salt and pepper.  Serve the soup topped with a scattering of finely sliced red Thai chilis if you’re looking to really kick that cold to the curb!

Roasted Beet Borscht is basically spring in a bowl

Roasted Beet Borscht

Roasted Beet Borscht

After a long and indecisive winter where snow was rarely seen yet big puffy coats were a must, it’s finally officially spring!  On days like today, I spend the hours trying to soak up as much of this lovely sunshine as I can while holding back hopes that Old Man Winter has hung up his hat for good this year. 

A girl can dream but we here in Southern Ontario know that late March snowstorms are pretty much a given so I’m not holding my breath.

When the sun is shining and spring is trying to break through, I start craving brighter flavours but that threat of winter’s last hurrah keeps me wanting more hearty fare.  It is on days like these that I crave a big old bowl of roasted beet borscht.  The roasty flavour of this cheerful magenta hued soup swirled with fresh green gremolata and dreamy crema is just what the doctor ordered.  It’s hearty enough to keep you satisfied on cold wintery nights but bright enough in both looks and flavour to usher in mild spring days.


Roasted Beet Borscht

Serves 4

5 medium/medium large beets, peeled
3 medium carrots, peeled
1 medium red onion, peeled
4 cloves garlic, skin on
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 cups low or no sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon vodka, optional
1 – 2 tablespoons syrupy balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice, or more to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon Horseradish Crema, to garnish, recipe follows
Gremolata-y Olive Oil, to garnish, recipe follows

Preheat your oven to 400F and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil to make cleanup easier.

Meanwhile, prepare your beets and carrots by dicing into roughly 2” chunks and cut your onion into six wedges.  Toss all of your vegetables including the garlic and thyme onto your prepared sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil.  Mix well so that all of the veggies are evenly coated with oil and spread into an even layer.  Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and pop this into your preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring once midway through.

When your veggies are done roasting, pop all of the garlic cloves out of their skins, discard all of the papery bits, and transfer the whole pan of veggies into a medium/large pot along with the chicken or vegetable stock.  Set this over medium heat to simmer for about 50 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender.

Carefully remove the sprigs of thyme and transfer the mixture into a blender to puree until very smooth.  You might need to do this in a couple of batches and do be careful of the steam.  Also, it’s important to open the lid valve of the blender and cover with a clean dish towel when you blend.  If you don’t, you will have quite the mess on your hands!

Once your soup is nice and smooth, transfer it all back into your pot and place over low/medium-low heat.  Stir in the vodka (if using), vinegar, prepared horseradish, mustard, and lemon juice, to taste.  Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes or so to allow all of the flavours to meld. 

Serve hot or cold topped with Lemon Horseradish Crema and herby Gremolata-y Olive Oil (recipes follow) and revel at that beautiful magenta hue!

 

Lemon Horseradish Crema

¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and keep cold until ready to use.

This crema is as delicious on roasted beet borscht as it is alongside roast beef and potatoes.

 

Gremolata-y Olive Oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl and allow the flavous to meld at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.

Serve a tablespoon or so swirled into a big bowl of roasted beet borscht or as a sauce for chicken or fish.

Store leftovers in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to a week.