Is February a grind to you? I hear all the time that it’s this middle ground – we’re maybe still trudging through New Year’s resolutions, maybe not. It’s cold, we have a good amount of time until Spring, and there aren’t any major breaks or holidays to look forward to. I’m all about capitalizing on that. Take advantage of the cold with some extra cozy foods, take advantage of a little more free time to go to bed early, whatever makes you appreciate boring, as it were.
This soup is perfect for regular nights. It comes together so quickly but has tons of flavor, and the croutons on top are a huge bonus. I like to make a double or even triple batch of these on the weekend and use them all week for soup and salads.
Grab an extra loaf of Stecca at Swamp Rabbit Café and use it for croutons!
- Prep: 10 minutes
- Cook: 30 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 small carrot
- 1 small red jalapeno
- 1/2 small onion
- 8 fresh tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 cloves peeled garlic
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups bread cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- olive oil
- fresh parsley leaves
- fresh oregano leaves
- grated parmesan
For the soup, cut the celery, carrot, jalapeno, onion, and tomatoes into large chunks. Place them in a blender with the garlic cloves, salt, and sugar. Puree the mixture until very smooth, then transfer to a soup pot. Turn the heat to medium and bring the soup to a boil, stirring every few minutes to prevent the soup from sticking. Simmer the soup for 20-30 minutes, uncovered, until you’re ready to eat. Right before serving, taste and add more salt or pepper to your preference. Swirl the butter into the soup.
For the croutons, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the bread cubes, garlic powder, and salt. Toss the bread cubes in the butter and seasonings and cook for 7 minutes, stirring and tossing around in the skillet, until browned on all sides.
When the soup and the croutons are done, serve with any toppings that you’d like. Grilled cheese never hurt anything.
If you don’t like much spice, you can scrape the seeds and ribs out of the jalapeno, or just use half of it, or skip it all together! You can also sub 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper.
Any fresh tomatoes work well here,
or 3 15-ounce cans of tomatoes.
For the croutons, stale or leftover bread works really well for crunchy croutons.