...absolutely the reason why we grow tomatoes. Well, that and bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches. (Hint: whisk some basil olive oil into your mayo and you'll never look back!) And salads, one can’t forget the salads. Then there's just plain ol' chompin' into a fresh tomato with a bit of salt. But the soup...you really need to make this incredibly delicious, easy-to-make soup.
The key to this recipe is to use the best tasting tomato you can find. The recipe is so pure and simple that the tastier the tomato the better the soup. Slicing tomatoes not Roma or paste. It's tomato season so head out the the market and get the best tomatoes you can find. We grow Cherokee Purple, Celebrity, and Moreton for eating fresh and this soup so that is what we use.
A few pointers.
- Use a good quality, low sodium chicken or vegetable stock. Home made if you have it.
- If you have some garden thyme and parsley, add a few sprigs. It's optional but adds some extra flavor so it's not a bad idea.
- If the tomatoes are a bit bland, skip the sugar and add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to bring the tomato taste up a bit after you season with salt.
- Serve it with a garnish or a drizzle of basil or rosemary olive oil. Basil oil is especially suited to this soup.
That’s it. No more changes.
Make this soup and freeze it. You’ll thank me on a cold night in January.
The recipe comes from a former chef who has a blog called Former Chef. When I read her "about" section there was a kindred spirit. I too, am a former chef and…well, visit her site and read her about section. We concur with all of her comments. Thanks, Chef Kristina.
That's it. We'll see you at the Farm Market!
Fresh Tomato Soup
Ingredients: 2 cups chopped carrots 2 cups chopped celery 3 cups diced onions 6 cloves garlic minced 12 cups chopped fresh tomatoes 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock 2 tablespoons kosher salt 2 teaspoons sugar 1/4 cup basil leaves optional
Directions: 1- Rough chop all the vegetables. It doesn’t matter what they look like because the soup will be blended later, but make sure the carrots, onions, and celery are all about the same size so they cook at the same rate. 2- In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add in the carrots, celery, and onions and cook until the onions are translucent about 10 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook another 5 minutes, but don’t let the garlic brown. Add in the tomatoes and stock then allow to simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the carrots are soft. Add basil if using it now.
3- Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes. 4- Puree the soup with a stick blender or in batches in a conventional blender.
Once the soup is all pureed, push it through a sieve. I use a 12-inch chinois, another name for a Stainless Steel China Cap Fine Strainer to get just the right amount of pulp. You want to get out the tomato skins and seeds but push through the rest of the vegetables. If you use too fine a mesh strainer, you will just end up with tomato juice. I only lost about 2 cups of “solids”, mostly skin and seeds, during the straining process. What was left was pure tomato soup nirvana.
(Note: You can skin and seed your tomatoes before making the soup but this is time-consuming and I found it just easier to strain.)
Put all the strained soup back in the pot and add the salt and sugar to taste. Even though our tomatoes were very ripe and sweet, we almost always add a couple of teaspoons of sugar to tomato soup or sauce because it helps balance out the acidity of the tomatoes and bring out the natural sweetness. (You are seasoning with salt AFTER you make the soup I hope!)
To serve, reheat the soup. I like to garnish it with a dollop of homemade pesto or some basil or rosemary olive oil.
Other garnish options include a bit of milk or cream to make a “bisque”, chopped tomatoes to make a chunky tomato soup, fresh grilled garden vegetables (corn, zucchini, yellow squash, etc), or even tiny meatballs. Okay....maybe not meatballs.
The possibilities are endless. Use your imagination!
Dave Notes: Buy some one quart freezer bags so you can freeze this soup two cups at a time. Fill a bag with two cups, lay it flat with the open end up-turned, ease as much air out as you can, and zip the bag closed. Lay the bags flat in the freezer until frozen. The soup will last up to 9 months…well, around here it doesn't.