Creamy Tomato Soup

Tomato Cream

It has finally gotten cold here. Seven degrees; 19 degrees; highs of 30 ... that kind of cold. Is there any better way to warm up than with soup? We called my grandfather to invite him to dinner - as we do most Thursday nights - and he said he was just about to pop open a can of tomato soup himself. I told him we could do him one better. Homemade Cream of Tomato, with Grilled Pastrami, Prosciutto and Caramelized Onion Sandwiches on the side. He said - "be right there." (Actually, Brad picked him up - it had snowed that morning and there was a possiblity of ice, and he didn't want to drive himself! I don't blame him.)

Pastrami and Proscuitto

This recipes makes a lot of soup - so consider yourself warned! It's a great recipe to make and invite friends over to share it with, however. We had grilled sandwiches - I actually broiled them on the top rack, flipped halfway between cooking time - to save on dishes and sanity. If there's one thing that is not fun for me, it's standing over the stove making sandwiches, one by one, for a group of people. I want to socialize! These still turned out great - buttery, melty and crisp - with half the work.

Creamy Tomato Soup
Martha Stewart

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 26 1/2-ounce boxes vacuum-packed crushed tomatoes, or 10 cups canned crushed tomatoes
5 1/4 cups Homemade Chicken Stock , or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
3 sprigs fresh oregano, plus more for garnish (I omitted this - didn't have any)
1/2 cups half-and-half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 6 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes, stock, and oregano, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer gently until thickened, about 45 minutes. Remove oregano sprigs.
3. Slowly add half-and-half, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with oregano, if desired. Serve hot.

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