I've just come up with this tonite - it's perfect for a crisp October evening!
My goal was to approximate the brand-name version but without the additives, and this hits the spot - simply delicious, comforting and satisfying.
This recipe makes enough to save/freeze 3 extra bowls of soup.
Webster's Cream of Tomato Soup with Spinach & Rice
Makes 4 generous bowls (8 cups)
1 1/2 tbsp plus 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
8-10 baby carrots, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 cup flour
1 x 900 ml carton chicken broth
1 x 796 ml (28-oz) can diced plum tomatoes, drained
1 x 398 ml (14-oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp sugar or honey, divided (2nd portion to taste)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup torn baby spinach, stems removed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup hot half-and-half cream
1/2 cup cooked rice
In a Dutch Oven or soup pot, warm the first 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil then add the onions, carrots & celery. Saute on medium, stirring regularly, for 3-5 minutes, then reduce the heat, cover, and sweat the vegetables for 8-10 more minutes, stirring often.
Add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil, warm it up, then sprinkle the flour over the top; stir in immediately, and continue stirring & cooking it for 3-5 minutes, until beginning to become slightly golden.
Pour the broth into the pot, then add the diced tomatoes & crushed tomatoes, stirring well to incorporate.
Season with the first amount of sugar & the pepper, bring gently to the boil, then reduce and simmer on low for 40 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
Strain the soup, first through a coarse sieve, pressing to extract the liquid and allow some of the tomato pulp to go through, and *discarding the remaining solids. Strain through a finer sieve to remove the seeds (this whole process actually takes very little time).
Return to a clean pot, and add the salt, spinach and rice. At this point you can add the remaining sugar or honey to taste.
Warm up the soup gently to wilt the spinach, while heating up the half-and-half in a small pot (and not allowing to boil).
When the spinach is wilted, stir in the half-and-half.
That's it! Wonderful with baking powder biscuits, Grilled Cheese Sandwich, or thickly sliced French Bread.
(*or save the remaining solids in the freezer to incorporate into a thrifty side dish, gratin or sauce.)