This is a comforting and healthful soup. We could all use some comfort and health at the moment.
My husband’s father passed away this week. He was very health conscious and, if he had not been so dedicated to taking good care of himself, he might have left this world before I had the great good fortune to become his daughter in law. I enjoyed the challenge of cooking for him. He was a wonderful man and you can read all about him in this father’s day post from 4 years ago. The post is also a compilation of classic recipes that achieve their tasty status without relying too heavily on dairy, pork or beef (Rev. James R. Green approved). I would have liked to serve him this soup.
This recipe is a mash up of two excellent tomato soup recipes, one old and one new. The old recipe is Anna Thomas’ Tomato Cognac soup from the Original Vegetarian Epicure. You can read about my childhood memories of this soup in this post. The new recipe is the Spicy Tomato Bisque from Andrea Bemis’ lovely cookbook Dishing Up the Dirt. You can read my review of that cookbook in this post about my cookbook club. The recipe I’m sharing here has the classic flavor profile of the Thomas’ soup but uses Bemis’ clever techniques for making a creamy tomato bisque that is totally vegan. The soup is made creamy with coconut milk rather than heavy cream and thickened with pureed chickpeas rather than a butter and flour roux. It is truly my personal comfort food dream come true. I eat it with kim chee grilled cheese (which you should totally make if you have not tried it yet).
COMFORTING CLASSIC TOMATO SOUP (but vegan)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- a bit of salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons good quality tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dry basil
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 cup vegetable stock (I use experimental scrap stock)
- 1 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cognac
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 (abuot 15 oz) can chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 1 (about 14 oz) can full-fat coconut milk
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon celery salt or to salt to taste (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Smoked Hot Spanish Paprika or to to taste (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste and dry basil and cook for one minute.
- Add the tomatoes, stock, sugar, cognac, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the drained chickpeas and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Working in batches, puree the soup until smooth. Return to the pot and add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Add the black pepper, celery salt and paprika to taste. You can also adjust the lemon juice and sugar if needed. Simmer for 20 minutes.