Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tomato Soup

My family was always a Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup kinda gang.  I'm not sure if we ever had the tomato soup version.  I vaguely remember someone complaining that tomato soup tasted like watered down ketchup.  If this one anyone in my family, it was most certainly my dad.

The first time I remember trying tomato soup was when I was babysitting at 13.  I really didn't even know how to make soup back then.  It was paired with grilled cheese.  Probably the most classic soup pairing ever. Campbell's, however, is less than impressive.  And I can understand how it would remind someone of watery ketchup.

Through the years, I've tried some much more tasty options.  Progresso makes a good version of tomato basil and MiaZa's had a great version.  But as with most things, none of these things compare with the homemade version.

I made this version about a week ago.  I froze half of the recipe and it still fed me four times! And it does perfectly pair with a gooey grilled cheese!

The ingredients list is a little long but it is very worth it.

The stars of the show are garden tomatoes stolen from my mom.  

The vegetables are all sauteed with a bit of olive oil.   

It took about 15 minutes to cook all of the vegetables since I had a lot.

Once the veggies are cooked down, add in some chicken broth to give the soup some flavor.

I used 8 cups of tomatoes that I had already boiled and removed the peels from.  

I also added in the rest of my sad looking basil that I pulled from plant.  While I was out there I also gathered some rosemary and oregano.  

Let all those spices marinate and simmer for 40 minutes.  

Now comes the tricky part. Pureeing the soup.  If you like your soup chunky, you could just leave it at this stage but I prefer my tomato soup smooth and creamy.  

Hot soup is hard to blend because it is creating a lot of steam and wants to pop the lid of the blender.  And threatens to splatter everywhere.  So start with a very small amount.  I used about 2 cups in my 8 cup blender.  I transferred my soup from the blender into another container to make sure all the soup went through the blender before transferring the pureed soup back into the pot.  

Tomato soup was splattering everywhere during this process, but it was still worth it.  

To give the soup a little more creaminess, I added about 1 cup of milk (almond because that is all I had).

Serve with a little cracked pepper and a gooey grilled cheese!

Make sure to refill your bowl at least once, minimum.  

Tomato Soup

1 leek
1 shallot
1/2 red onion
1 bell pepper
1 jalapeno
1 other hot pepper (I don't know what kind this is, my dad gave it to me!)
3 cloves garlic
Olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
8 cups tomatoes, boiled and peels removed
basil and herbs, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 cup milk or cream

Chop first 7 ingredients and add to large pot.  Add enough olive oil to saute.  Saute till vegetables begin to brown, about 15 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer approximately 40 minutes.  Puree soup and return to pot.  Add in milk or cream.

Serves 8.

Next time I make this I would also consider adding carrots and celery.  Carrots will add a nice sweetness and I enjoy the taste of celery in things.
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