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Food Network Favorites: Homemade Tomato Soup

From the Michael Chiarello chapter in Food Network Favorites comes this recipe for soup that works even when flavorful fresh tomatoes aren't available. The proportions are all screwy, however, and the soup could use a lot more tomatoes in it to be worthy of the name "tomato soup."

This soup has all the telltale signs of a recipe that's been adapted down to home-cooking proportions from its restaurant origins, without the new amounts ever having been tested. For 4 servings, the soup uses one 14-oz. can of diced tomatoes, which isn't very much. Once you drain the liquid off, you've got a scant 3/4 cup of tomatoes. The tomatoes are then cooked with an onion, a carrot, and a celery stalk, which combine to make a very good-tasting vegetable soup.

Also wonky; the aromatic veggies are cooked in a whopping 1/2 cup of olive oil. The diced onion, carrot, and celery pretty much swam in that amount of oil, and the large amount didn't seem to serve any purpose. The olive oil is just there to cook the vegetables in, so a smaller amouhttp://s152160711.onlinehome.us/cookbook/mt/mt.cgi?__mode=view&_type=entry&blog_id=1#nt would certainly do the trick. The only explanation I can think of is that this recipe is usually prepared by the gallon, to serve restaurant diners (Michael Chiarello is executive chef of Tra Vigne, a well-know Napa Valley restaurant). In any case, something got lost in the translation, because aside from the balance of vegetables and oil being off, the yield is also wrong. Chiarello's recipe says that it serves 4. The only way that's true is if you're serving the soup in itsy-bitsy demitasse cups. The entire yield is only 3 1/2 cups of soup. It served 2 people for lunch at my house.

I have made some adjustments to the ingredients (using twice as many tomatoes, and half as much olive oil) to pump up the tomato flavor and increase the yield slightly. I recommend that you use the optional heavy cream; it helps to smooth out the texture of the soup and adds a nice creaminess. Chiarello's original recipe called for 1/2 cup, but I've given the option of using less, since even a smidge of cream will add a lot to the soup.



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