The idea of comfort food changes drastically when living 10,000 miles away from home.

Tomato Soup

Burritos, oh lordy, I don't even want to tell you what I'd do for a properly made steak burrito with a real margarita. And, just so you know, cocktails count as comfort food according to Wikipedia. Yes, I actually checked on that one. I know this is heresy, but sometimes I find Big Macs comforting too because I can get them anywhere in the world. (Except that year I lived in Southern India). And in France I can get my Big Mac with a beer too. Why they don't ask me if I want the beer supersized, is a mystery.

But my all time favorite comfort food is tomato soup. Especially with a grilled cheese sandwich that I can dip into the bowl. Or better yet, tomato soup with a tuna melt. I'd probably self-combust out of pure delight if I saw that on the menu here.


For better or worse, soups are not sold in the can in France. Rather, they are sold by Knorr in powdered form. Sometimes the powdered soup is premixed and put in a box for quicker consumption. I find that most of these just taste like flavored glue. And speaking of flavored glue, we don't have Campbell's out here. Campbell's doesn't even "taste like homemade" as their labels imply. However, it could be a close second for a person living in a country that doesn't revere tomato soup the way American culture does.

Afterall, there are no Renoir paintings of tomato soup cans in the Musée D'Orsay. Taking the cue from so many French home cooks, I make my own. And my tomato soup is easy and ten times more nourishing then Knorr and Campbell's put together. It also has no cream, butter, high fructose, corn syrup, bizarre thickeners, wheat or wheat derivative, dehydrated vegetables, or reconstituted beef. I'll slurp to that! Note: I've roasted two different colors of tomatoes for fun. However, using one type still provides the same happy effect that all good comfort food does.

Roasted Tomato Soup

 2 pounds yellow tomatoes

2 pounds red tomatoes

1 whole bulb of garlic

1 yellow onion

1 medium shallot

4 to 5 cups chicken stock depending on how thick you want it

2 small bay leaves

Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Slice tomatoes in half top to bottom and place in a baking pan. Take one bulb of garlic (about 10 cloves) and break up. Scatter cloves around pan leaving them in the skin. Season tomatoes generously with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Roll everything around to coat, but turn tomatoes cut side up to cook. Roast until they begin to slightly brown, about 35 minutes. (I baste the tomatoes with the pan juices half way through.)  

Chop onion and shallot. In two separate medium sized pots heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in each. Divide the onions and shallots between the two pots and sweat on medium heat. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock and a bay leaf to each. Add roasted tomatoes, garlic removed from skin, and pan juices (split tomatoes between the 2 pots separating the red and yellow) and bring to a lively simmer. Season with salt and pepper.  Remove bay leaf from each pot. Purée yellow and red tomatoes separately in a cuisinart. Strain tomato purée back into pots, removing skins & seeds. Add more chicken stock until the consistency it to your liking. The flavor will deepen while it rests.

Note: if you wish to make the yellow soup more yellow-er add a few dashes of tumeric. It will not change the flavor in small quantities but will brighten the color.