Tomato – Spinach Soup

We’re taking a break from lentils and other legumes in this post. Instead we have a light, yet nourishing soup that’s easy to make and can be served any time of year, thanks to the availability of great-quality canned tomatoes. Of course, when tomatoes are in season, use those instead. There’s more work involved with fresh tomatoes – removing the skin and seeds – but it’s worth the effort.

Tomato-Spinach Soup

To remove the skins and seeds of fresh tomatoes, use this
simple boiling water technique:

1. Place a large pot of water on the stove top. Bring to a
rolling boil. Set aside a large bowl of ice water.
2. Rinse tomatoes and remove any stems.

Blossom end of tomato

3. Using a sharp knife, cut a shallow “X” at the blossom
end of the tomato (opposite the stem end).

Stem end of tomato

4. Gently slide 3 to 4 tomatoes into the boiling water at
a time. Keep them in only until the skin around the “X” starts to split – no
more than 25 to 30 seconds. NOTE: Tomatoes will begin to cook and get
mushy if left in too long!

5. Using a slotted spoon, immediately remove each tomato
and plunge them into the bowl of ice water.

6. Remove the tomatoes from the water, and begin to
gently peel the skin starting at the “X”. Discard skin.

7. Carefully cut the tomatoes in half and gently scoop
out the seeds with a spoon. Discard the seeds.

Now you’re ready to proceed with the recipe!

– Spinach Soup
Serves 4 

    2 Tbs.
extra-virgin olive oil
    1 medium onion,
finely chopped
    1 large clove
garlic, minced
    3 cups
lower-sodium vegetable broth, or water
    ¼ cup Marsala,
   28-oz. can diced tomatoes (including the
   1-1/2 tsp. brown sugar
   2 tsp. Herbs d’ Provence
(or a combination of dried oregano and dried basil)
   1 – 10 oz. pkg.
frozen, chopped spinach, thawed (Fresh chopped spinach or Swiss chard may be
    Kosher salt and
freshly ground black pepper
1. In a large, nonreactive saucepan, heat the oil over
medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until
soft but not browned, about 8 minutes.
2. Add the broth (or water), Marsala (if using), tomatoes
with liquid, brown sugar, dried herbs, and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Simmer
over medium-high heat while stirring the mixture. Cook for 15 minutes.
 3. Cool soup slightly,
then purée in small batches in a blender or food processor. Rinse the soup pot
and return the puréed soup to the pot.
4. Add the spinach, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover,
and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Season to taste with salt and
pepper. Reheat if necessary.
Serve warm.
NOTE: It’s best to make this one
day in advance so the flavors have time to blend. This soup freezes well, too.
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