You may recall me telling you about the mister's addiction to the Military Channel...as in, he's outta control, watching it almost every second he's home. If he would just watch and not comment on whatever weapon they are showing, I wouldn't mind as much...but he is incapable of sitting silently while some grunt is demonstrating how easy it is to blow off someones facial pimple from 2 miles away. And now...now my friends, things have taken a nasty turn for the worse. The mister picked up another book about Vietnam a while back, (Strange Ground - An Oral History of Americans in Vietnam, 1945-1975) and while the war is raging on the flat screen, he READS OUT LOUD to me!!!! And...since the mister reads at a snail's pace, I will have months and months of this! IF I said anything to him, even in my very nicest/sweetest voice (shut-the-hell-up-I-could-not-care-less-and-my-ears-are-on-fire-stop-please-stop-before-I-am-forced-to-try-to-drown-myself-with-my-own-spit!!!) he would be offended and snort and huff and puff and blow the house down...well not really, but I truly don't want to hurt him, because for whatever reason (and there two-tours of Vietnam duty worth of them) he needs to talk about Vietnam...he needs me to listen, to try to understand...so there you have it, evenings at the Slaughterhouse...this is my Grenada.
All of that above was my way of justifying why I eat what I eat...comfort foods that soothe the nerves, calm the spirit and help one escape the travesties of daily war on TV. And this soup, this is about as comforting as it gets. It's not your average tomato soup...no basil, no thyme, no rosemary...instead, this wonderful liquid gold gets its savory flavor from Saffron, the most expensive spice on the planet! I am lucky enough to have friends who travel to foreign lands...and one of those friends brought me back some Saffron, thanks Doneen!!
This recipe was adapted from Ina Garten's, Easy Tomato Soup, from her new book (2012) Fool Proof - thanks Lori!
This latest book from Ina is every bit as wonderful as her previous books...I am a huge fan of hers and am happily cooking/baking my way through this book and have loved every recipe!
While Ina's recipes certainly don't need any tinkering, I decided to use beef broth instead of chicken broth, because I like the additional bit of flavor it imparts. (I have made it with chicken broth and it was excellent, but I just happen to like it better with beef broth.) I also changed the name of her soup from Easy Tomato Soup to Savory Tomato Soup because I felt it described it so much better...but it is easy! I have made this soup about 5 times now, it's been a hit with everyone I have served it to, from my friends at my Valentine Tea to the mister - everyone was in agreement, this one is dang good!
Savory Tomato Soup - Adapted From Ina Garten's Easy Tomato Soup, Barefoot Contessa Fool Proof
3 tablespoons good olive oil
3 cups yellow onion, chopped (2 onions)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 cups beef stock (or chicken stock if you don't want to be a rebel)
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
large pinch of saffron threads
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup orzo (or any other small pasta)
1/2 cup heavy cream
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the stock, tomatoes, saffron, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a medium pot with water, add 2 teaspoons salt, and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook for 7 minutes. (It will finish cooking in the soup.) Drain the orzo and add it to the souop. Stir in the cream, return the soup to a simmer, and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently. Serves 4 to 6. (This recipe doubles easily.)
(Note: Ina served her soup with mini grilled cheese croutons. Make a grilled cheese sandwich, use Gruyere cheese, I promise it will be worth it, and then cut the sandwich into 1-inch cubes. Sprinkle the grilled cheese croutons over soup.)