- Prep time
- 25 minutes
- Cook time
- 1½ hours
- Serves 6
Quite honestly, there is no greater meal in wintertime than a bowl of this soup served with a grilled cheese sandwich. The crushed red chilies are not there to burn your taste buds; just a helping hand to get the olfactory senses in motion.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 lbs. ripe tomatoes; peeled, cored and diced rough*
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced small
- 2 stalks celery, diced medium
- 1 fennel bulb, diced medium
- 2 carrots, diced medium
- 1 large parsnip, diced medium
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 6 sprigs fresh parsley
- 4 leaves fresh sage
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon crushed red chilies
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Kosher or sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- Pie Crust:
- 1 sheet frozen pie crust
- 1 whole egg, whisked
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Wash and prepare vegetables – there is no need to peel the carrots or parsnips. Tie herbs together in a bundle with kitchen twine (create a "bouquet garni").
In a heavy-bottomed pot, add olive oil and heat over medium flame. To oil, add garlic, onions, fennel, parsnip and carrots; sauté until just caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add crushed red pepper and tomato paste and continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Next, add the celery, honey, tomatoes, herb bundle and vegetable broth; lower heat and simmer. Stir soup every 10-15 minutes to avoid scorching vegetables on the bottom. Continue cooking for about 1 hour, then taste and adjust seasoning.
Meanwhile, thaw pie crust to room temperature to serve the soup "en croute". Youll need 6 oven-safe ramekins, preferably those with a volume of 1-1½ cups. Cut 6 even-sized circles out of the pie crust using a ramekin as a guideline. The diameter of the dough should be slightly larger than that of the ramekin.
When the soup has finished cooking, remove bouquet garni and stir in the cream. Take the soup off the heat and blend until smooth using either an immersion blender (hand held) or by carefully transfering the soup into a blender in batches. Once finished, evenly divide soup among the ramekins. Cover each with the pie crust cutouts, pressing the dough to the edges of the ramekin. Cut a small slit in the center of each to vent the steam, then brush the top of each with the egg. Place on a sheet pan, then transfer to the oven.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or just until the crusts are golden brown and flakey. Carefully remove from the sheet pan and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.