Instead of corned beef and cabbage on yesterday's St. Patrick's Day, I made ham salad sandwiches (open-faced and toasted) and homemade tomato soup for dinner. (Tony had planned to go to a program after work but changed his mind at the last minute because others had decided not to go.)
The soup was really good and very easy, and beats the canned stuff all to pieces. So I thought I'd share.
I started with a recipe from Food.com, which I often browse, but then adapted it enough that it really isn't the same recipe.
Saute in 1-2T olive oil a medium chopped onion and four cloves of minced garlic until soft. Throw in a couple of bay leaves and a few sprinkles of basil leaves if you like that flavor (we do) -- maybe half a teaspoon.
When veggies are soft but not browned:
Add a 28-oz. can of whole, diced or stewed tomatoes, whatever you have in the pantry.
Pour in a couple of cups of chicken or veggie broth, or -- as I did, not wanting to open a quart of broth for just two cups -- two cups of chicken bouillion (low sodium preferred)
I added two small cans of V-8 to this mix; you may choose to add 1/4 c of tomato paste.
Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. At that point I also added about a slice of bread, torn into pieces. (Use whatever you have, or omit if you like. It thickens the soup just a little.) Simmer maybe another 10 minutes until you really can't see the bread. (I suppose you could add the bread when you add the other stuff too.)
Using your handy-dandy immersion blender (which I got for my birthday last fall and while I don't use it often, LOVElovelove it), puree until everything is smooth. In lieu of that, you can puree small batches in your blender, but be careful to hold the lid on so soup doesn't explode over your countertop. Or you can mash it all together with a potato masher (the low-tech version).
It turned out warm and smooth and peppery, warming us up all the way down. I'll choose this soup any day over anything canned, and it's very easy.
I'm guessing you could add some cream at the very last to make it cream of tomato, or put in other veggies or rice or macaroni to stretch it or to use leftovers.
Corned beef and cabbage tonight!