When I was a child and for most of my life until I travelled to Guatamala before my senior year at college I would only eat one kind of soup Campbells cream of tomato! I suppose it was a kids thing like not liking the texture of noodles or rice. We really didn't eat that many soups in my household.
So in later years my diet expanded considerably eating many varieties of soups in Bolivia and El Salvador. Yet I still come back time and time again to cream of tomato soup. I suppose it has such strong connections to my childhood it is one of my true comfort foods.
In Bolivia and El Salvador I couldn't buy the canned soup so I would use tomato paste and milk adding a few herbs and lots of onions to spice it up a bit. There and at home growing up I often fixed popcorn to add to the soup instead of crackers. Try it, it is quite good! Supposedly President John F. Kennedy had it for one of his inaugural meals.
For some reason in recent years I did not look up a recipe for the homemade version so I would continue to use canned soup. I would eat the tomato/basil soup at Stomping Grounds and thought, "Gosh I wish I could make soup this good."
So when the Oct. issue of Saveur magazine arrived and had a recipe for Cream of Tomato soup I tried it and I was hooked. Fortunately there were still some tomatoes to can so I went to it to have an ample supply to make home made tomato soup any time I craved it, which is often!
4 lices thick-cut bacon, finely chopped
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. flour
4 cups chicken stock
1 tsp tyme or basil
1 bay leaf
1 15-oz.can whole, peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
1/4 cup heavy cream
Heat bacon in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat, and cook until it's fat renders and bacon is crisp, about 15 minutes. Add butter, and increase temperature to medium-high; add garlic, onion, and carrot, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add flour, and cook, stirring until smooth, about 2 minutes more. Add stock, thyme, bay leaf, and tomatoes, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and purée; return to saucepan, and stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls and dollop with sour cream and croutons as desired. Serves 4-6