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Tomato Soup With Gruyere and Fried Capers

Mars: She's a dirty, wild woman who dances in the spring, promises warm winds and clear skies, then slams the door in your face when you start to drown in her lies.

The ritual in March, when one sunny day is followed by four days of rain, I repeat, curbs the desire to eat. Strawberries and asparagus are the foods I crave this time of year as spring begins to give way to winter. When Mars decides to turn on the tap, I make soup.

When there's nothing to do but tomato soup and no tomatoes ripening in the sun, I turn to these delicious canned tomatoes: San Marzanos .

This is a belly warming soup that is easy to prepare in an hour. Make it thick and creamy or smooth and creamy, without adding dairy products. Make it vegetarian by using vegetable stock and reserving the oil. Make as many as you like and adjust the ingredients accordingly.

Winter-Spring Tomato Soup with Gruyere and Fried Capers
Original recipe by Christina.
A few teaspoons of olive oil and butter for the pan.
2 large cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, peeled
About 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut into small cubes.
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1-2 medium sized carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes.
1 stalk celery (optional), remove and cut into small dice
4 cups good organic chicken stock (I use homemade chicken stock or Pacific Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth )
If possible, chopped fresh basil, a few sprigs of fresh thyme, or a teaspoon of dried.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons capers drain and fry
1-2 tablespoons grated Gruyère cheese
Place a large pot of meat sauce on the stove.
Add vegetable oil and butter to a skillet and place over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions, carrots and optional celery and cook until soft, about 7 minutes. Adjust the heat so the vegetables don't burn.
When the vegetables are ready, add the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring so the garlic doesn't burn.
Turn off the heat and add the vegetables to the soup pot.
Add the tomatoes to the pan and chop them, then place them in the soup pot.
Increase the heat under the stock pot to medium and add the chicken stock and thyme, if using.
Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about half an hour until all the vegetables are very soft. The liquid will decrease slightly.
Adjust seasoning with sea salt and black pepper.
When cooked, turn off the stove and let the soup cool slightly. If using fresh chopped basil, add it now.
Puree the soup directly into a bowl using an immersion blender, or add a little at a time to a food processor or blender to reach your desired consistency.
If the gravy is too thick, add a little more stock.

For a fancier serving, ladle the soup into wide, shallow, warm bowls, then top with fried capers and grated Gruyère cheese. Enjoy even when the weather changes!

Chef's Notes:
If you look carefully, the photo above has a 2014 watermark and was indeed taken this year. I often make this soup in cold weather and this photo is the best representation of the recipe.

Copyright 2005-2015, Christine Cox. all rights reserved

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