What is beauty to you? A perfect sunset? A kind stranger? A good friend? I think a true friendship has the ability to change us on so many levels. To make us better. A true friendship teaches us about humor, loyalty, honesty, and kindness.
One of the places that I hold most dear to me is Minneapolis where I lived during my dental school years. I think it’s because I have such wonderful friends from that time that I think of it with such nostalgia. Going through difficult things together brings people together and dental school was definitely one of those times. There was a café a short distance from the dental school where my friends and I would often go to gossip to get our minds off of our studies. We would always have a hot bowl of tomato bisque and if you showed up right at 11:50 you could get a fresh popover before they sold out.
My darling friends Heather and Jenna were my first acquaintances when I moved to Minneapolis. Jenna and I lived together for four years and during dental school when things got rough between dating and exams, my sweet roommate was always my trustworthy rock. Heather was always up for a good time but was no less trustworthy and is one of the most genuine, giving people I know. This is for them and our times together at the little Espresso Expose.
Of course, it is best served, like at Espresso Expose, with popovers, so if you have a few extra minutes, be sure to pop some into the oven.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery rib, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp salt, divided***
- ¼ tsp white pepper***
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- Two 14½-ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
- ⅓ cup tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- ¼ feta to top (optional)
- In a large saucepan over low heat melt 1 ½ tablespoons butter. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables start to brown.
- Turn heat to low, add flour and stir until incorporated, about 1 minute.
- Next, add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and chicken stock, turn to high heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer partially covered for 15-20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Puree soup in blender, return to pot and add heavy cream, salt, pepper and butter. Serve and garnish with croutons as desired.