I work in a building that is, at times, fairly well air conditioned (read: cold). It’s also significantly closer to the beach then where I live (which means it’s cooler). So, on Monday, I was feeling a cold at work (I swear I walked between buildings and also was cold but it could’ve been that it’s heavily in shadows) and was trying to figure out what to make for dinner (the refrigerator is mostly bare and we had some tomatoes left over from last week). In early afternoon, I called Angela and said that it was a bit cooler and would she mind having tomato bisque for dinner.
Turns out, when I got home that there were two complications: it was most definitely not cold (it wasn’t quite hot but it was definitely not on the cold side of the scale) and Angela thought I meant this soup (not that I really had any particular recipe in mind). Well, when she-who-must-be-obeyed tells me that she expects one thing for dinner, if I’m smart (like that’ll happen regularly), I make what she wants. And so I did.
This recipe actually comes from one of my favorite cookbooks from one of my favorite restaurants. I went to college (er, technically I went to “institute”) in Rochester, NY and the area right around the school was a chain-restaurant wasteland. Every once in awhile, we’d consider it special enough (or when parents visited and were willing to pay), we’d venture downtown and go to Dinosaur BBQ. Now, not being from the south (Maryland never seceded y’all), I have no idea how this compares to the “real thing” (Angela, while being from Florida, is really from “Southern Long Island”). I consider it to be very good and that’s good enough for me (I’m getting hungry just thinking about the pulled pork; I may make my bastardized crock pot version this weekend).
Right before I graduated from college, I realized there were several things I would miss from Rochester (outside of the people). Towards the top of the list was Dinosaur BBQ, so while shopping at a bookstore I noticed they had a cookbook and I bought it. Now, I don’t have a backyard and, hence, no grill or other way to smoke meat but surprisingly, there are plenty of recipes for indoors (or that can be adapted for indoors use, such as the above mentioned pulled pork). Also, uniquely among barbeque restaurants (or so I’ve heard), they gave away their recipe for their sauce (of course, I’ve not made it from scratch; some grocery stores sell it and it’s indistinguishable from the original).
The thing that’s amazed me about the cookbook is that the recipes work. They’re clearly written and they work well. Outside of Julia Child, there are very few recipes that have worked as well for me as the ones in this cookbook. So I highly recommend you buy it if assuming (and this is a pretty easy assumption to make) you don’t own it.
And there are no pictures of the soup because they were pretty unattractive.
Tomato and Roasted Garlic Soup
Adapted from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: An American Roadhouse
1/4 cup butter
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 cup chopped onion
salt and black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp flour
4 cups chicken stock
1 large garlic bulb or 2 small garlic bulbs
2 lbs. fresh tomatoes or 1 28 oz. can of tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp thyme, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the tops off the bulbs of garlic, exposing the tops of the individual garlic cloves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the garlic bulbs in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes or until they are softened. When the garlic bulbs are finished cooking, squeeze out the garlic into a bowl and then, using a fork, make a paste of the garlic.
- Prepare the tomatoes by either running them through a food mill fitted with a disk with large wholes or, skin them, dice them, and crush them with a potato masher.
- In a soup pot, melt 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Then, whisk in the chicken stock.
- Add the roasted garlic, the tomatoes, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Uncover and add the heavy cream, the parmesan cheese, thyme, and lemon juice. Season generously with Tabasco sauce.
- Remove from heat. Puree the soup either with an immersion blender or, in batches, in a food processor or blender. If you’d rather have a chunky soup, skip this step (I like it mostly pureed with some chunks in there).
- Return soup to medium-high heat and cook until thickened to your desired consistency (how thick do you like your soup?). Taste for seasoning.
Serves 6 to 8.