Um, the best tomato soup. Ever. (And simple, too.)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 garlic clove
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes (see notes)
About 10 sprigs of parsley
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (or half this amount if using table salt) (see notes)
3 Tablespoons mellow white miso (see notes)
1/2-1 cup chicken or vegetable stock or broth (see notes)
Ground black pepper to taste
1. Choose a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients (with tall sides to prevent splattering if you plan to use an immersion blender). Set the pot over medium heat and warm the oil in the pot. Add the onions and saute for about 12-15 minutes, until soft and slightly golden (adjust the heat to keep them from browning to quickly).
2. Stir in the garlic and saute briefly until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and parsley, stir in the salt, and bring back to a simmer. Simmer for 30-60 minutes with the lid slightly askew, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in the miso and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, stirring as needed to be sure the miso paste has fully dissolved into the soup.
4. Use an immersion blender to blend everything into a smooth soup (or you can blend it in batches in a blender, then return it to the pot). Add the stock as needed to thin the soup to the right consistency. Season with a couple grinds or small pinches of pepper and taste. Add a bit more salt if needed, and serve.
I created this recipe with canned diced tomatoes (because that's what I had on hand), but this would actually be the perfect place to use canned whole peeled plum tomatoes. Canned diced tomatoes usually include calcium chloride to help them hold their shape in the can - but it helps them continue to hold their shape in the cooking, rather than breaking down in the pot. If you use the whole tomatoes, include all their juices, and taste carefully as you go in case the proportions of some other ingredients need to change.
Whichever kind of canned tomatoes you use, check to see if salt is listed as an ingredient. Mine contained salt, so the amount I call for here takes that into account. If yours are unsalted, you'll probably need a bit more.
And regarding salt, as always, I'm using Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. If you're using table salt, you'll want to start with half the amount called for. If you're using any other salt, taste and adjust as needed.
I use Miso Master Organic Mellow White miso (see pic), which I find at my local Whole Foods. In case you are new to miso, it's a paste made from fermented soybeans (miso), and it's the thing that gives miso soup its distinctive flavor. It's also a secret weapon of flavor that you should keep in the fridge at all times. It's an aged-fermented-type-thing, so in other words, one of those things that basically keeps forever. And it's a huge dose of umami, which is the flavor that makes everything more delicious.
Miso is in the refrigerated section of the store. You might notice there is red miso and white miso - you want the white one for this recipe. The red miso has a much more pronounced miso flavor, while the white miso just quietly sneaks into the background to add its deliciousness to any dish.
I used lightly salted homemade chicken stock for this. You can absolutely make it with vegetable stock to keep it vegetarian/vegan and it will still be delicious. If your stock or broth is unsalted, you'll probably need to add more salt than called for. If it's well-seasoned (ie, to be served on its own), then you'll want to dial back the added salt.