In these trying times I find it difficult to be cheerful in my food blog. When you’re depressed by the news but can’t stop watching it, what’s the point of shamelessly promoting your chicken wing recipe? As a result, instead of trying to be adventurous and creative in cooking, lately I find myself turning more and more towards comfort food.
Indulging in your favorite comfort food will likely not solve all, or even any, of the world’s problems. It just might, however, make you feel better. Better enough to calm your stress, sooth your emotions and collect your thoughts about what to do next and how to overcome your troubles.
In terms of comfort, I can’t think of anything more soothing than a big bowl of tomato soup and some grilled cheese sandwiches. Every bite feels like a cuddle with a baby or a puppy. When I’m in the dire need of cheering up, this is the soup I turn to with its sweet, slightly smokey depth of flavor, comforting warmth and satisfying memories of lunches past in a simpler, less insane world. Added bonus: it’s garnished with bacon and bacon is one of the many ways God shines his love down unto us.
2-3 stalks of celery with leaves (about 1/2 cup finely chopped)
1 tbsp flour
3-4 cups (700 ml-1 Liter) chicken broth
2 * 14oz/400g cans of stewed tomatoes (chopped or whole, either is fine)
1-2 handfuls of fresh basil (about 1/2 cup chopped)
1 tbsp sugar
3 oz (100ml) heavy cream
Cook 3 strips of bacon in a large pot over medium/low heat.
When crispy and brown, remove from pot and set aside. Leaving, the bacon grease in the pot, add diced onion, minced garlic, diced carrot, diced red pepper and chopped celery. Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Cook on medium/low heat until vegetables are soft.
Add flour, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add chicken broth and tomatoes and stir together. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Once bubbly, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes.
After 30 min has passed, add the basil and sugar. Puree with an immersion blender, food processor or blender.
Return to stovetop and let cook together for 2-3 minutes then add a touch of cream, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes longer.
Cut cooked bacon into strips or into smaller pieces, whichever you prefer.
Turn off heat, transfer to bowls and garnish with a drizzle of cream, a sprinkling of bacon and fresh basil. Serve with your favorite toasted sandwiches and enjoy!