I have a thing about tomato soup. Namely, I will never turn down an opportunity to try a new one. From Italian recipes with bread to infusing it with cumin and chile, I'm forever in search of new ideas (and they often appear in this column). Rarely does a tomato soup take more than an hour to cook, and it's often made with canned tomatoes—perfect for winter. Sure, the traditional cream-based recipe is fantastic (especially with grilled cheese), but I'm always on the lookout for ideas.
This recipe from Stephanie Izard is among the best tomato soups I've ever made. The secret is not only to use apples, which help thicken the soup give it some body, but also to skip the stock and use apple cider instead. Along with white wine, it adds acidity and sweetness, which are also the best qualities in a good tomato. A hit of sambal paste (a vinegary, chile condiment) gives it a tantalizing kick. The result is an intense base of flavor, rich and satisfying.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3 Honey Crisp or Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon sambal chili paste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 28 ounces canned whole peeled tomatoes
- 4 cups apple cider
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large, heavy soup pot (such as a Dutch oven), heat the butter over medium heat until it foams and subsides. Add the onion and garlic and sweat until pale and tender, about ten minutes.
Add the apples, tomato paste, sambal, and wine. Bring to a boil, then cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
Add the tomatoes and cider, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the flavors have mellowed and come together, at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.
Transfer the soup to a blender and puree (in batches) with the cream. Return the soup to the pot, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with grilled cheese.