My adorable “yankee” husband has a major vegetable aversion but he loves soups particularly tomato basil. His most hated vegetable is the onion which of course makes me want to hide it in all his food. So, the key to not compromising this important ingredient and hiding the evidence is the immersion blender or the soup stick blender! If you like to make soup, you might consider investing in this great kitchen gizmo. (Runs around $100 at Williams-Sonoma) The stick blender saves a lot of messy clean up because you insert it directly into your saucepan. You can more easily regulate the consistency of your liquid and I prefer a little bit of texture instead of a super fine bisque.
The biggest challenge for this recipe conversion to the lighter side was the heavy cream. After a bit of research and polling of my Facebook friends, here’s my concoction.
Heavy Cream Substitute:
Melt a 1/3 cp of light butter in a saucepan and whisk in a tablespoon of flour. (This is a very simplistic version of a roux.) Slowly add 3/4 cup of skim milk until it thickens. Cool and store in refrigerator until needed. *1T of regular butter has 11.5 grams of fat and light butter has 6 grams of fat.
Soup ingredients: 1 stick of light butter, 2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 large onion sliced, 2 large peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes, 2 large cans plum tomatoes, 4 T tomato paste, 4 cps chicken broth, 1/4 cp flour, ½ tsp of dried thyme, 6 fresh basil leaves, sea salt & pepper to taste, 1 cp of substitute cream (see above), 1 tsp sugar
Melt stick of butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. Cooked sliced onions until tender. Add tomatoes and paste to mixture, simmering for 15 minutes and stirring frequently. In a small bowl, combine flour with ¼ cp of chicken broth to just moist. Add thyme, basil, salt and pepper to flour mixture. Add to tomato mixture then gradually pour in remaining chicken broth. Simmer 45 minutes to an hour until tomatoes are tender. Cool and process in food processor OR use a soup stick blender. After pureed, add cream substitute, ¼ cp of melted light butter and a sprinkle of sugar.
Garnish: I love using a shake of nutmeg with a sprig of basil. Even better, a dollop of homemade pesto light! I’ll share that recipe this week so stay tuned.