This is a rich, tomatoey soup that is a big hit with almost everyone I’ve served it to. We all grew up eating Campbell’s tomato soup. When I was a kid, long long ago, on Saturday nights we often had tomato soup with popcorn in it. It’s actually a very good combo. I saw a recipe a while back for tomato popcorn soup in an issue of Food Network magazine. Of course they used popcorn with truffle oil and grated truffle percorino cheese but even so, they must have channeled my mother. I think our family had this because it was a very inexpensive dinner that went a long way. Truffle oil and truffle percorino would have defeated the purpose. Plus the little general store in my hometown carried neither. This soup recipe also uses a little Campbell’s but it’s the add-ins that make it so amazing. The recipe originated from a bar-restaurant in Jackson Michigan. I’ve modified it a bit by adding red or orange bell pepper, fresh garlic, and fresh basil. I also use my home canned stewed tomatoes but good store bought stewed tomatoes work great.
4 T butter
1 large sweet onion diced
1 red or orange bell pepper diced
4-5 garlic cloves sliced
3 pints stewed tomatoes
1 large family size can Campbell’s tomato soup
8 oz cream cheese
1 T dried basil
3 cups half-n-half
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil and Asiago cheese for garnish
Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or heavy kettle over medium high heat and add the onions and peppers. Cook until they are tender, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute or two until the garlic is fragrant.
Reduce the heat. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato soup. Cube the cream cheese and add that to the tomatoes.
Cook over low heat until heated through. Stir in the dried basil and salt and pepper to taste. Use an immersion blender and purée the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender you can add the soup, in batches, to your food processor or blender. Stir in the half-n-half. Continue to cook over low heat until the soup comes to a simmer. Serve it up garnished with fresh chiffonaded basil, shredded cheese and croutons. I used Asiago cheese and croutons made from swirl rye. Enjoy!
NOTE: You can add some diced oven dried tomatoes, diced green onion, or another favorite cheese like sharp cheddar or smoked Gouda. This soup can also double as an awesome sauce for vegetable crepes or pasta dishes. This soup freezes beautifully.