This tomato-gin soup, with a melty round of goat cheese on top, is pretty much synonymous with my life in these early days of autumn. The last gasp of summer keeps fresh tomatoes on my kitchen counter, I will do anything for cheese, and the addition of gin? Well, I’m a new mom. Enough said.
The peanut is in that phase of life right now where everything goes in the mouth. The remote control and our smartphones are her nearest and dearest favorites, but when we’re at the park down the street from our apartment, ain’t nothing going to do other than a nice, crackly dead leaf that’s been lying on the ground and probably walked on by a million pairs of germ-infested shoes. It doesn’t help that she’s started crawling this week, and is very quickly gaining speed motoring around. It’s hard enough to keep her from digging into the bathroom trashcan while I run her bath; when we’re not at home and she has a whole park to cruise around in, I spend an incredible amount of time prying her tight little fist open and releasing something germy. I just cross my heart she doesn’t contract anything weird, keep our pediatrician on speed-dial, and tell myself that it’s all in the name of building an immune system. (Please tell me this is rational)
Now that she’s a whole 8 months old (#HowIsThisPossible), she’s even more fun to eat with. We eat more or less the same things these days. I’m still keeping her away from gluten, egg whites and nuts, but almost everything else is fair game. The other night I chopped up slow-roasted chicken and potatoes I’d made for dinner a few nights before that, heated it slightly on the stovetop, and dumped it all on her highchair tray. She carefully scooped up each and every morsel, stopping every once and a while to struggle with her sippy cup (we’re still working on that one). I know that at some stage I’ll stop delighting in watching her eat, so I like to savor these moments as I can. I still can’t get over how this tiny human, who doesn’t even have teeth yet, enjoys food the way that she does.
Unfortunately, one thing I’m not down with sharing with her is this soup. ”Oh, because it has gin in it?” you might say. Ok, well, yeah, that too. ”Oh, because babies can’t eat soup?” Um, no, not quite, because when we do “share” soup, I just strain out the liquid and feed her the rest. No, I’m ashamed to admit that if I had a chance to share this with my tiny daughter, I would be loathe to, because I love it and I want it all for myself. Mom of the Year right here, folks.
Tomato-Gin Soup with Goat Cheese Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 white onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup dry gin
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- 2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 5 oz tomato sauce
- 14 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, the liquid reserved and the tomatoes roughly chopped
- 8 oz (about 2 handfuls) fresh spinach
- salt and pepper, to taste
- fresh chevre goat cheese, to taste
- Heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook til lightened and fragrant, about 1-3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with gin, scraping the bottom to get any browned bits off.
- Add the stock and water and bring to a simmer. Add all of the tomato products and bring back to a simmer. Let simmer until the liquid has reduced by at least a third and the soup has reached a desired consistency. Then stir in the spinach and let it wilt completely.
- Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and serve hot with rounds of goat cheese on top.
- This soup freezes fantastically for up to three months.