Creamy Tomato Soup with Brown Butter Garlic Croutons
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 (28-ounce) cans whole, peeled tomatoes
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/3 cup freshly grated havarti cheese
- 2 cups cubed whole grain bread
- 3 tablespoons brown butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
Adapted from howsweeteats.com
Heat a large soup pot oven medium-low heat and add olive oil and butter. Add onions, salt, pepper, seasonings and smoked paprika, then stir well to coat. Cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in garlic and tomato paste, using the back of the spoon well to mash the tomato paste and evenly distribute it throughout the onions. Cook for another 5-6 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, allowing the tomato paste to become golden in spots.
Add in both cans of the tomatoes (with juice) and the stock, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let bubble for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. While the mixture is simmering, I occasionally mashed the tomatoes down just to make them easier to blend.
While the soup is cooking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brown the butter and let it sit for 2-3 minutes, then toss in the minced garlic cloves and stir for 30 seconds. Add bread cubes to a large bowl and pour the garlic/butter mixture over top, tossing well to coat. Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, tossing once or twice during cooking. If you desire them more golden, bake a little longer - just keep an eye on them.
After the hour is up, very carefully add the mixture to a blender (you will probably have to do this in two parts) and puree until totally smooth. Add back to the pot over low heat. Stir in the mascarpone and havarti, stirring until it's completely melted. Taste and season additionally with salt and pepper if needed. Serve in big bowls with an extra dollop of mascarpone and bunch of croutons on top.