Life-Changing Tomato Soup and Crusty Bread

About a month ago, we were in the car and I came across a Facebook post from Chapters in Etobicoke announcing a closing sale. There are few stores I love more than Chapters so we had to stop on the way home. I managed to snag a few greeting cards and two cookbooks at serious discounts. One of the cookbooks has turned into a go-to resource in our kitchen - Sarabeth's Good Morning Cookbook: Breakfast, Brunch, and Baking. Sarabeth's has several restaurants across New York and is famous for their comfort food and brunch classics. I decided to make her velvety tomato soup after Cam was raving about how fantastic it is (he's tried the real deal). With a few modifications, I've listed the recipe for the soup and a crusty bread below. Perfect for anytime of the year! Makes 10-12 servings.

Ingredients for Soup:

  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 small Vidalia onion, chopped 
  • 2 medium shallots, chopped
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 x 28oz. cans of diced tomatoes
  • 8 cups of half and half 
  • 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • Maldon salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup of fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 cup of white cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions for Soup:

  1. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large pot over medium heat
  2. Add the onion, scallions and shallots and cook until translucent 
  3. Add the tomatoes and half and half in the pot. Crush some of the tomatoes with a wooden spoon
  4. In a seperate saucepan, melt the remaining four tablespoons of butter over low heat. Gradually, whisk in the flour to make a roux. Whisk constantly for about three minutes. Slowly, pour the roux mixture into the pot
  5. Reduce the pot's temperature to low and simmer for 35 minutes to blend and thicken
  6. Add the dill, salt and pepper
  7. Serve hot and top with shredded cheddar cheese 

Ingredients for Crusty Bread:

  • 1.5 tablespoons of instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoon of salt
  • 6 1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tablespoon of rosemary

Directions for Crusty Bread:

  1. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of warm water, yeast and salt. Stir in flour until there are no dry spots. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let sit for two hours 
  2. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with a parchment paper and let sit for 40 minutes. Top with one tablespoon of sea salt and rosemary (can make two circles of dough if you want a smaller loaf). Slash the top of the bread with a serrated knife three times
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
  4. Place a baking sheet at the bottom of the oven with half a cup of water in it
  5. Place the baking sheet with the dough on the top shelf of the oven
  6. Bake for 28-30 minutes and let cool