Monday, October 25, 2010

Roasted Tomato and Polenta Soup

It's definitely soup time, even though today was rather balmy. My procedure with soup is to first take a package of chicken from the freezer and let it defrost in the fridge. I keep ziploc bags filled with chicken parts in the freezer to make stock. Lately it's been whole legs, so the meat somehow gets used up too, whether it's in the soup or not. The other day I made chicken pot pie empanadas with the left over chicken.

When the chicken is defrosted I make stock, usually first thing in the morning, so by afternoon it's cool. I strain it and then clean the chicken from the bones. It's a leisurely routine when you can do it here and there between reading The World's Funniest Storybook Ever and singing Airplane of Food for the billionth time.

I saw this recipe for Rustic Spinach and Cornmeal Soup in Bon Appetit and was struck by its amazing simplicity and genius. I like Lidia Bastianich, and I always love what she cooks. My mother-in-law loves watching her because she's "soothing." I totally understand that. She is. And what she cooks is, too. Do you love polenta? I love polenta but it takes some babying. This is a great way to enjoy it in a short amount of time.

Not having an ingredient on hand is never an issue, only a boon! I had no spinach, but I had just roasted off a tray of the last of the tomato harvest. Into the soup it went. Topped with some basil from the garden, and dinner was served. It was so incredibly delicious: creamy and thick, tomato-y and tangy. An teensy bowl was leftover, and it congealed in the fridge. I fried it up in slices for breakfast with some eggs.


  1. julia, oh julia, you just know instinctively what to do with food. that soup looks and sounds delicious! i can smell it by the image alone. well worth making. i will report on it in my blog, just woke up, keeping odd hours.

  2. Your blog nourishes my soul. I just wanted you to know. And I wish I were home to can my quinces this year.

  3. Julia- I needed this soup more than anything today! It has turned downright nasty out in Seattle... and while I wasn't eating soup, at least I got to read about it and look at it! YUM!

  4. You know, I'm not a polenta girl (unless it's fried, but then again - you can make almost anything good by frying it) but this sounds tempting. And I don't have roasted tomatoes OR spinach, but I do have a lot of chard mooning about the fridge. Hmmmm.

  5. Michael - Thank you! It's so comforting, warming. Tell me how it comes out! I'll look forward to your wonderful photographs.

    Georgia - That makes me feel sparkly! Thanks, truly. If your family doesn't send you any quince goodies, let me know, and I will!

    Meg - I saw that missive to winter you wrote; we've had a few warm days and I am sort of sad to see them go. Actually, really sad. Perfect fall weather is my favorite thing!

    Kaela - Fry that cardboard up in bacon grease, slap some mayo on it, and I'm in! I think chard would be perfect.

  6. Oh, and p.s.? Richard Scarry is my homie. I have kept countless kids entertained for countless hours with Lowly Worm alone. Brilliant.

  7. I took a look at the recipe. I like the idea of polenta in a soup. I've never seen it done. Thanks for the intro.

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  9. julia - i've made your fabulous soup. ambrosial. even in this slight variation. go check it out at

  10. It's so great how polenta goes from soft and creamy to firm and fryable, isn't it? That soup sounds like a perfect send-off to summer, though luckily the weather didn't get the memo.

  11. Kaela - We love Lowly! We are actually reading the same books that I wore thin as a child. S calls him Wormy Worm. So cute.

    Denise - I know you would do it justice and then some.

    Michael - That looks amazing!

    Peter - I know, it's beautiful out, right?? But yes, I was amazed (child that I am) that it firmed right up in the fridge. Love it.

  12. mmmmm, that looks and sounds delicious!!!

    By the way, I think the fig branch you gave me is getting some tiny little root buds on it - I just moved it to a slightly sunnier spot.

  13. Eve - It was tasty! And yay on the fig stick! Mine are too. I wonder if I should move mine into the sun now...Hmmm.

  14. Where is the recipe you found that was similar to the restaurant's? I don't see it, but may be missing something.... Thanks!

    1. Hi Anon! I'm sorry--what restaurant are you talking about? There is a link to the recipe from Bon Appetit in the body of the post. Is that the recipe you are looking for?