Classic Tomato Soup with a Goat Cheese Swirl

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Recipe for Classic Tomato Soup with a Goat Cheese Swirl. What gives old-fashioned tomato soup its comfort-food super-status is its perfect sweet-acid balance.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup finely chopped leeks (1 leek) -- white part only (reserve green parts for making stock)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot (1 small carrot), peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion (1 small onion)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery (1 center rib celery with leaves)
  • kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded, and chopped
  • 2 sprigs parsley, 1 sprig thyme, and 1 bay leaf tied together in cheesecloth
  • 5 cups vegetable stock, or 2 1/2 cups canned diluted with 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 ounces mild goat cheese such as Redwood Hill plain or herbed chèvre, at room temperature
  • small handful of fresh chervil leaves, coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. In a wide pot, cook the leek, carrot, onion, and celery with a little salt in the butter over medium-low heat until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes, covering the pot halfway through the cooking time. Uncover, add the tomatoes and herb bundle, season with salt and pepper, and raise the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat as needed to maintain a gentle boil, and cook, uncovered, until the tomatoes break down and thicken slightly, about 10 minutes. Add 4 cups of the stock, bring to a boil, and cook for 20 minutes, reducing the heat if the soup becomes too thick.
  2. Purée the soup with an immersion or stand blender. For a refined purée, pass the soup through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean pot to remove any stray seeds or lumps. If the soup is too thick, add the remaining 1 cup stock. If too thin, cook uncovered over medium heat to reduce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top each serving with a spoonful of goat cheese and a sprinkling of chervil. Farmer’s Tip: To enjoy good-tasting tomatoes long after the growing season has past, tomato grower Ed Munak recommends freezing whole ripe tomatoes on a baking sheet, and then storing them in re-sealable plastic bags. When you are ready to use them, rinse the frozen tomatoes briefly and the skins will slip right off. Ideal for winter soups and sauces.