Panera Bread's Creamy Tomato Soup

2:15 AM

Tonight for dinner I had something entirely else planned, but forgot that when I went shopping the other day I couldn't find some ingredients I needed at my commissary. Living on an overseas base sometimes has its drawbacks! So, scrambling for dinner ideas so late in the day, I finally remembered about this tomato soup recipe I have been wanting to try. I keep scheduling it in my recipe program's menu function to make it for dinner, but each day that I was to make it, something or another would come up. I suppose that worked out quite nice since it looked very easy to make and doesn't take long either.

I found this recipe at The Secret Recipe Blog. Chef Tom collects "secret" recipes from tons of restaurants and name brand goodies, so this is definitely a site worth checking out. While I have only been to Panera Bread a handful of times, I sadly cannot say that I've actually had their tomato soup, so I can't give an honest comparison to the real thing. What I can tell you, however, is how amazing this was! I don't mind tomato soup, but considering I've only had Campbell's canned kind, it was never at the top of my list for meal ideas. This soup, however, is far from any canned soup I've ever had. It is very rich, creamy, and silky, which I find quite amusing since I used fat free milk. My son, Thing 2, who does not like tomatoes, said "I don't like this soup...I LOVE it!" Good enough for me!

Panera Bread's Creamy Tomato Soup
Serves 8

5 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, chopped
5 tablespoons flour
4 cups fat free milk
1/2 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups crushed tomatoes

1. Melt the butter in a soup pot. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the onion is softened but not browned.

2. Sprinkle the flour over the butter mixture and continue to stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Slowly add the milk, bay leaf, sugar, and salt and continue to cook and stir until slightly thickened.

3. Stir the baking soda into the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to the milk, and bring just to a simmer.

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