a creamy tomato soup with fresh tarragon, manchego cheese, and homemade croutons
½ lb onion, roughly chopped
½ oz garlic, minced
3 lb tomatoes, chopped
¾ cup + ¼ cup tarragon leaves (loosely packed)
4 oz manchego cheese, shredded
2 tsp honey
2 tbsp heavy cream
½ loaf seedy bread, cubed
vegetable oil and salt
Heat a large heavy-bottom pot (I use a Le Creuset) over medium heat. Coat the bottom with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the onion and let sauté for a few minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic. Sauté for 1 more minute. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a bubble over medium-high heat. Lower the heat back to medium and let the tomatoes simmer for about 10-12 minutes, stirring often. You want the tomatoes to burst and the liquid to reduce. Season well with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Add the ¾ cup of tarragon.
Transfer the soup to a blender (you may have to work in batches) and blend for 1 minute until smooth and creamy. Return the soup to a clean pot. If you have done this quick enough, the soup should still be fairly hot. If not, you can heat it over low heat (just be careful not to scorch the soup). Add the shredded manchego cheese and stir until it melts. Lastly, add the honey, heavy cream, and remaining tarragon leaves. Taste the soup and adjust the salt and pepper if needed.
Meanwhile, heat about ¼” of vegetable oil in a large, shallow sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cubed bread. Continually stir the bread as it toasts in the oil, about 3-5 minutes. Once crispy, yet still soft on the inside, use a slotted spoon to transfer the croutons to paper towels. Immediately season with salt while the croutons are hot.
Serve the soup warm in a big bowl with the homemade croutons and a few extra tarragon leaves on top. You could also drizzle some olive oil or grate some manchego cheese over top.