The refrigerator clean out continues. We had some left over crushed tomato sauce left over from William's pizza making. His sauce is actually an uncooked can of crushed tomatoes, mixed with a little vinegar, oregano and salt. I decided to make this into a tomato soup. I also save left over chicken broth into a plastic container in the freezer, since it keeps for a long time there. Since I was using up leftovers, I only have approximate estimates of the quantities; I did not measure things exactly.
I used the "Cream of Tomato Soup" recipes from "How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food" by Mark Bittman and "The Silver Spoon" as references, though I made up the recipe. Both of those sources suggest using butter (instead of olive oil) to cook the onion if you are planing on making cream of tomato soup.
1 yellow onion, finely minced
2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup wine
left over crushed tomato sauce, about 1 1/2 cups
chicken broth, about 1 1/2 cups
1 or 2 bay leaves.
1/2 cup half and half
salt, to taste
Heat a large heavy pan on medium (enameled cast iron is a good choice, but don't use regular cast iron because it interacts with the acid in the tomatoes). Put the butter into the pan, and when the butter bubbles, add the minced onion and a tiny pinch of salt. Be very conservative in the amount of salt you add; the salt is to help the onions sweat, but you should only add a small amount because the tomato sauce and the chicken stock has salt in it already. Cook the onion until it has softened but hasn't colored (the onion should become transparent but remain yellow).
Add the wine and allow most of the liquid to boil off. Add the crushed tomato sauce, and return to a simmer. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the bay leaves, and return to a simmer. Lower heat and partially cover. Keep the soup at a low simmer for 1 hour.
Remove the bay leaves and discard. Use a hand blender to blend all ingredients. Add the half and half. Check the consistency of the soup; the soup should be hearty, but thinner then a stew. If it is too thick, then add some water (I had to add 1/2 cup of water). Heat the soup until it is almost beginning to simmer.
Taste the soup. If you would like a smooth texture, you can pass the soup through a fine meshed strainer (chinoise); I did this with my soup since I didn't think that the onion particles were soft enough. If the soup isn't almost beginning to simmer, then heat the soup until it is. Taste and adjust the seasonings for salt (I added a tiny pinch). If the soup isn't vibrant enough, then you can add a tsp or two of vinegar (I didn't need to).
Serve hot, preferably with shaved Parmesan and croutons, bread, or even better yet--a grilled cheese sandwich. Alternatively, I think that the strained version of this soup would be cute with alphabet letter pasta.