This is what my wife asked me to accomplish: a) Recreate the tomato soup from Nordstrom, and b) don't mess it up. In case you're not familiar with this soup, it's rather famous, ranked regularly on lists of Best Tomato Soup Ever, enjoying something of a cult following for those who love tomato soup. And who doesn't? I'd be surprised to meet any American kid who doesn't have fond memories buried deep.
Thankfully, there are recipes for it pretty easy to come by. The secrets, I think, are the generous use of carrots, which bring a sort of untraceable sweetness, and the use of dried basil, not fresh. That might seem surprising since dried basil gets a bad rep for tasting very little like its fresh counterpart. But it's actually a useful ingredient, and the concentrated flavor is key for a puréed soup like this.
I suppose it's up to the eater whether this soup is a close-enough facsimile of the original dish—but I can guarantee that you won't regret making it, because it's delicious.
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon dried basil, crushed
- 3 28-ounce cans whole peeled Roma tomatoes
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 1 pint heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add carrots and onion and cook until beginning to soften, 10 minutes, then add basil and cook until vegetables are completely soft, about 5 minutes more.
Add tomatoes and broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes, or up to 45 minutes if time permits.
After allowing soup to cool somewhat, purée in a blender or food processor until smooth, doing so in batches if necessary. For a much silkier texture, strain the purée before returning to the pot.
Stir in cream little by little over over low heat, until desired texture is reached and soup is just heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve warm.