I'm never going back to Panera Bread. The only reason I go is to get their baked potato soup in a sourdough bread bowl. The last 3 times I've been, they haven't been serving that soup and I get something else that is definitely sub par. On my last visit, I got their tomato soup. It was only okay.
Last month I made a recipe for homemade tomato soup that I found on my ward's recipe blog. It was so tasty--especially after it sat for three days in the refrigerator. Seriously. If you could even wait that long you should make a big batch and then let it refrigerate for 2 or 3 days. I made the soup again earlier this week and made a quick accompaniment for it last night: Jamie's Focaccia Bread. Wow, I just ate lunch at 10:00 am because I couldn't wait to eat the left overs. I seriously may never go back to Panera Bread. You shouldn't either. You should call me and come over for lunch. If you don't you should at least make this in your own kitchen for your own family.
Homemade Tomato Soup
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook time: 40 min
1 14oz can chopped tomatoes
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (substitute Italian seasoning, or sage and thyme; they all work well).
1/2 cup heavy cream, optional (we have never used this)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Strain the chopped canned tomatoes, reserving the juices, and spread onto a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle with about 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Roast until caramelized, 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted chopped canned tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, chicken broth, bay leaf and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add basil and cream (if using). Puree in a blender until smooth.
**the notes in parentheses are from the original recipe posted here. I'm not sure who actually posted it so I can't give credit to her. Here's how I tweak it though:
I would definitely triple the batch, you'll want it for lunch everyday. Quadruple it if you are serving to company so you'll hopefully have leftovers. When I multiply the recipe I still only use one onion because Marc's not a huge fan of onions but I multiply everything else. I used fresh basil the first time I made it and didn't really like it. If you want, use a dried herb, though I only used salt and pepper this last time I made it and it was great. Use fat free half and half instead of cream--you really should and you can do so guilt free because it's fat free!
Jamie's Focaccia Bread
1 C warm water
1/3 C olive oil
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 C flour
2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4-1/3 C olive oil (you be the judge :)
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
1 Tbs garlic, minced
1/3 C grated Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp salt
Add ingredients to the bread maker in the order listed above (be sure to smooth out the flour so that it is easily distributed). Set the bread maker to the “dough” program. When the dough is finished, with oiled hands evenly press dough into a greased 9x13 pan. Use your fingertips to make indentations in the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30-60 min, or until double in size. While the dough is rising, heat olive oil in skillet, stir in oregano and garlic then immediately remove from the heat. Use fingers to press dimples into dough again. Spoon olive oil mixture evenly over dough and sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Bake at 400 for 20min, or until golden brown. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.
**Jamie's recipe site is Dinner's Ready. Check it out. Again, just one side note:
I do not have a bread machine. I just threw all the ingredients in my Kitchen Aid, flour last, and mixed it with my dough hook until it was smooth and formed a ball. When the bread was done baking, I cut it into sticks with my pizza cutter. I did everything else the same and it turned out great. Thanks Jamie!