Whether it’s incorporating heavy cream into rich gratin potatoes or using creme fraiche in savory spinach frittatas, Martha Stewart knows her way around creamy ingredients, but she also knows when they don’t. are not necessary. Many tomato soup recipes pour in a dose of heavy cream at the end to thicken what might otherwise be a watery broth filled with tomato juice. But as Stewart demonstrates, there’s no need to involve the ingredient if you’d rather leave it out.
Instead of heavy cream, the celebrity chef uses a roux to add thickness to the tomato soup. As she says on her brand’s Instagram: “No cream here! A butter and flour roux is the secret to this creamy, velvety soup.” Instead of half a cup of heavy cream, which is usually needed to add body to this dish, a roux can use as little as two tablespoons of butter. And while refrigerating your leftover soup may cause the solids in the cream to separate, that won’t happen with a roux, so you can maintain the creamy texture of your dish for longer.
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How to Add a Roux to Tomato Soup
It takes a little more effort to make a roux than it does to pour heavy cream into your tomato soup, but the end result is worth it. A roux is basically fat mixed with flour — and while you can use vegetable oil, butter is the most common choice here (and Stewart’s choice, too). Adding heavy cream is usually one of the last steps in making tomato soup, but with this flour-based option, you can incorporate it at the beginning or end of your recipe. To make the roux, first melt your butter in a saucepan on the stove, then add your flour. A light version should only take about four minutes, but you’ll need to stir the mixture constantly so it doesn’t burn. If you want a darker roux, which will give more of a delicious nutty flavor, cook the ingredients for about seven minutes instead.
You can either prepare your thickener separately or as a first step when cooking your soup. If you opt for the former, you will add it as the final step of your dish; but with the latter, you can mix any chopped onion or garlic into the pan with your flour and butter, and cook it all together before adding the tomatoes and other ingredients. Either way, you can thicken your soup with ingredients likely already in your pantry, avoiding the need for heavy cream altogether.