If you have a good supply of tomatoes canned or frozen from last summer, a nice pot of tomato soup is perfect for a cold winter evening. The chicken is optional, but it does turn the soup from a side to a hearty main dish. Adding a Parmesan rind while the soup simmers adds a nice depth of flavor.
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced thin
2 quarts canned/frozen tomatoes (thawed if frozen) with their liquid
1-2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried basil
Parmesan rind (optional)
2-3 cups chopped cooked chicken
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan for topping (optional)
Heat a little olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the garlic and onion and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots and tomatoes, stock, thyme, bay leaf, basil, and Parmesan rind (if using). Simmer until the carrots are completely tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and Parmesan rind from the soup, then puree it either with an immersion blender or in a regular blender. Stir in the chicken and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot. If desired, top with a bit of grated Parmesan at the table.