Speed-scratch cooking is a great way for restaurant operators to get the most out of the foods they purchase as well as optimize labor costs. One way that chefs and line cooks can maximize an ingredient is by using it for a variety of dishes.
Tomato soup is one item that’s often served as a standalone dish, but it can be easily leveraged BOH in a variety of other menu items. Looking for ways to stretch your food costs and save time in the kitchen? Check out these four innovative and tasty ways to use tomato soup in your restaurant.
1. Used as a recipe base
According to Technomic’s 2017 Center of the Plate: Beef & Pork report, consumers are eating pork more now than they were in 2014, and 66% of consumers say they would order pork more often at restaurants if it were available.
Barbecue pulled pork gets an upgrade when tomato soup is in the braising liquid. This sweet and savory dish offers layers of flavor—pork shoulder is rubbed with a dry spice rub that includes smoky paprika, black pepper, cumin, garlic, thyme and bay leaf, slow-cooked with barbecue sauce and then simmered with garlic, onions, tomato soup, vinegar, water and molasses. The finished pork is perfect for pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw, as a taco filling, served alongside cornbread or made into sliders for a small plate offering. For the 64% of consumers who say they’d be like to order barbecued pork and the 57% who’d order pulled pork, this dish is a winner.
2. Blended into salad dressings
Salad dressings are often vinegar- or buttermilk-based, but those two ingredients don’t necessarily have the monopoly on creating flavorful salad dressings. In fact, tomato soup is an important ingredient in fresh-tasting French dressing.
According to Technomic’s 2018 Soup and Salad report, 35% of consumers would consider ordering French dressing for their salad—up from 32% in 2013. And while typically made using ketchup, French dressing offers a perfect place for tomato soup to shine—particularly if operators want to cut the sugar. Beyond salads, tomato-soup based French dressing can be used as a dipping sauce for veggies and as a marinade for meat, chicken, pork or turkey.
3. Stirred into baked goods
No, operators need not worry about tomato soup tiramisu on menu trend articles anytime soon (hopefully, at least). Rather, tomato soup can be used in savory baked goods like scones or cornbread to add flavor without adding additional fat. Not only does using tomato soup in breads and biscuits make for a moist bake, but it also allows the opportunity to offer a signature menu item—tomato cornbread alongside a bowl of hearty white chicken chili, anyone? It’s the perfect pairing.
4. On the breakfast menu
Savory breakfasts are on the rise, thanks to p.m. classics like pizza and fried chicken influencing morning meals. More operators are looking for ways to menu craveable savory breakfast options with ingredients they may already have on hand to help keep costs down.
For a delicious and high-end breakfast, tomato-custard tarts topped with an herbed tomato sauce are the perfect Sunday brunch meal. With a flaky pastry crust and indulgent parmesan cheese in the egg-custard filling, these tarts—adorned with roasted eggplant, bell peppers, onion, yellow squash and zucchini—are luxurious without being too heavy.