Margo’s Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup

When my friend Margaret suggested we head to the party early to put together a soup for the “non-oyster-eaters,” I questioned how we would whip together a soup in less than an hour with a knapsack of ingredients. To my surprise, Margo recently invested in a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated and has a wealth of information I have been too cheap to invest in! Cook’s Illustrated has one of my favorite PBS shows, America’s Test Kitchen, that airs on Sunday afternoons (I DVR it). Their Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup was the perfect complement to Stephanie’s fancy toasted cheese with a selection of cured ham, apples, cheddar, brie and unique spread of manchego and sour cream. The soup has very little fat (creamless – ah ha!) but has a smooth consistency from blending the base before serving. It came together in no time and was tasty and comforting. Enjoy this while it is still cold out!

Serves 6 to 8.   Published September 1, 2008.   From Cook’s Illustrated.


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil , plus more for drizzling
1 medium onion , chopped medium (about 1 cup)
3 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
  pinch hot red pepper flakes (optional)
1 bay leaf
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 large slices good-quality sandwich bread , crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes (if using), and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and their juice. Using potato masher, mash until no pieces bigger than 2 inches remain. Stir in sugar and bread; bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.
  2. Transfer half of soup to blender. Add 1 tablespoon oil and process until soup is smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and repeat with remaining soup and oil. Rinse out Dutch oven and return soup to pot. Stir in chicken broth and brandy (if using). Return soup to boil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve soup in individual bowls. Sprinkle each portion with pepper and chives and drizzle with olive oil.

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