Stress-Free Spicy Tomato Soup

September 13, 2015
A can't-mess-it-up family meal everyone will love.
Leah Mawson
Stress-Free Spicy Tomato Soup | WGBH | Craving Boston

Mastering the art of French cooking might require less finesse than trying to unpack an apartment and put dinner on the table with a toddler in tow, which is to say, this week we moved. With the chaos of boxes, toys, and all the belongings that do not yet belong anywhere in particular, dinner needs to be easy. We’re craving something homemade to break in our new home kitchen; a simple and satisfying soup, no stress no mess. Dig out that immersion blender, and we are in business.  

This recipe for spicy tomato soup can be made with a baby on the hip or a toddler at your feet (although neither are a requirement), with less than 10 minutes preparation time using pantry staples. Feel free to use chopped fresh tomatoes if you've got some good ones on hand. If you’re feeding little ones who don’t like heat, pass the pepper flakes at the table instead of sautéing them into the soup. Serve with a simple salad dressed with your favorite vinaigrette. If you’re feeling ambitious, top some crusty bread with sharp cheddar and let it melt to oozy goodness with a quick trip under the broiler.

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 onions (sliced)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 carrot (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cans whole peeled tomatoes
1 bay leaf
3 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup heavy cream
  salt and black pepper to taste
  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add sliced onion, carrot, garlic cloves, crushed red pepper and salt.
  3. Sauté the mixture until softened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and their liquid, and break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the 3.5 cups water and bay leaf.
  6. Simmer the soup for at least half an hour - the longer it simmers the more flavors develop. Add more liquid if the soup becomes too thick.
  7. Remove bay leaf and puree with an immersion blender, or in a traditional blender, in batches.
  8. For a very smooth finish, strain through a fine mesh strainer (optional).
  9. Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt and black pepper.