A Squared: What's For Dinner Wednesday: Beach Bar Tomato Soup

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Beach Bar Tomato Soup

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, blog friends!  Are you ready for a holiday food run down?

Since I worked for part of Christmas Eve day, I wanted to make sure that we could have a special dinner that night, but one that wouldn't require me making myself crazy once I got home from work.  I've been holding on to a recipe for Beach Bar Tomato Soup for a while and it's always been a favorite of mine, but it's a really rich soup so I didn't want to make it for just any old dinner.  It's a creamy tomato bisque that makes the perfect cozy winter dinner.  You can also make it in a slow cooker, which is what I did so that it could simmer while I worked!

I'm not sure where exactly this recipe came from, but I got it from my mom who got it from my grandmother who got it from someone else who is a fellow lover of the tomato soup at the Beach Bar in Clark Lake, Michigan.  Apparently there are a lot of other Beach Bar lovers out there since "beach bar tomato soup" and "beach bar clark lake" are always two of the top search terms that bring people to this blog since I mentioned it once in a previous post.  It's a great bar/restaurant in Michigan that we would go to every summer when we were visiting my grandparents' lake cottage.  It's a fun casual place with good pizza and sandwiches, but their standout menu item is the tomato soup, which is what I ordered every time we went.  Again, I don't know that this recipe is authentic, but if it isn't it is still yummy and comes pretty darn close to the real thing!  And if you're ever in southeastern Michigan, make a pit stop at the Beach Bar.  You can thank me later.

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 10.75 oz. cans tomato soup *I used Campbell's Healthy Request to lighten this up a bit
  • 8 oz. can V8 juice
  • 1 quart half-and-half *I used 3 cups half-and-half, 1 cup 2% milk... not a huge difference, but it made me feel slightly better about eating it!
  • 2 14 oz. cans low sodium diced tomatoes
  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened *I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese here
  • 1/2 tsp. or more of dry basil, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. or more of garlic powder, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Croutons, for serving
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese, for serving *I used reduced fat mozzarella here too

Melt butter in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add onion and saute until softened and golden.  Add onions and butter mixture, tomato soup, V8, and half-and-half to a large slow cooker.

In a blender, puree tomatoes and cream cheese until smooth.  Pour into the slow cooker.  Add garlic powder, basil, salt, pepper and stir well to combine.

Cook on low for at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally.  Cook for an additional hour uncovered on high, stirring frequently to allow the soup to thicken.

I was a little taken aback by the baby pink color of the soup at first, but as it cooks it will start to appear a little more orange.  If you alter the recipe and sub in 2% milk for some or all of the half-and-half though, the consistency will thin out but the color will be more vibrant.

Serve with croutons and shredded mozzarella cheese.

Here are a few other soup recipes you can't miss:

Spicy Black Bean Tomato Soup 
Fire Roasted Tomato Soup 
Chicken Tortilla Soup

Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash & Chipotle Soup
Sun Dried Tomato, Basil & Roasted Garlic Soup     

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