Recipe guarantees a souper Valentine’s Day

 In Opinion

It’s February again and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Not only that, the Family Day weekend follows right after. As per usual, there are many events going on in and around Creemore, including a number of delicious sounding community dinners, cook-offs, bake sales, and so on. Everyone needs extra fuel to keep warm right about now, and there is certainly no lack of options in the food department around town, that’s for sure. This is always a busy time for us at the B&B, but I will be trying to get out and about to sample some local fare if I can.

For Valentine’s Day in the past, I have usually written a lot of different recipes for decadent desserts, especially those involving chocolate. This year, given the cold weather, I am sharing with you my rich and delicious recipe for tomato soup. I really enjoy making all different kinds of soup – this one happens to be red and like all my recipes, is made with lots of love. There is a secret ingredient – parmesan cheese rinds. If you grate your own parmesan, then you know that you always end up with an outer rind, which usually gets thrown out. I throw them in a bag and park them in my freezer until I’m making soup, especially this one. If you don’t have any rinds, you can use a tablespoon of parmesan cheese added to your soup mixture prior to blending.

If you’re putting together a fancy (aka romantic) Valentine’s dinner, I would go with the fancy soup topping I’ve included. It’s simple to do but looks like something you would have in a nice restaurant. If you want something more family oriented, go with the comfy topping. What better way to share the love all around the family than a big bowl of soup and grilled cheese, all in one?

Feedback is great and I would love to hear from you. Just e-mail me at [email protected] Until next time, eat well, live well!

Valentine’s Tomato Soup Two Ways

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 cooking onions, diced

1 large garlic clove, sliced into slivers

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

28 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes

3 cups chicken broth

1 ½ teaspoons white sugar

½ teaspoon ground thyme

1 teaspoons ground white pepper

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1-2 rinds from a block of Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic mixture to pan and cook until mixture has softened but not browned, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add flour, stir to coat mixture in pan and then cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add Italian plum tomatoes to the pan, stirring constantly to incorporate and making sure flour doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Break up tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Add chicken broth, sugar, thyme, pepper and sea salt and stir. Add in cheese rind. Reduce heat to low, cover saucepan and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove soup mixture from heat and let cool. Remove leftover parmesan rind and discard. Purée soup in batches in blender or food processor and pour into a clean saucepan. Be careful and put a towel over your blender lid and hold when blending (if the soup is still hot, it can pop the lid making a big mess). Reheat soup to serve. You have two choices to garnish big bowls of this delicious soup:

Fancy topping – Finish off with a bob of crème fraiche or sour cream, topped by finely chopped chives;

Comfy topping – Make a grilled cheese sandwich with your favourite bread and cheese. Cut into mini pieces and float on top of the soup.

Serves 6

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