Just the thing when you’re in need of a Norman Rockwell moment, tomato soup can be on the table in less than an hour. The basic ingredients are simple and can be used to make a straight up soup (you’ll want to seed and process the tomatoes to get that Campbells soup effect). The additional vegetables and spice aren’t much extra work and they bring out a pronounced set of distinct flavors.
As for the tomatoes, there’s little difference between store-bought and canned. If you want, you can substitute two 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes or tomato puree. The advantage of this is that you won’t have to deal with the peeling and mashing. I use fresh because it’s fun (I like to play with my food ).
Vine-ripened or heirloom tomatoes from a farmer’s market are much better than canned or store-bought. You might want to practice with this recipe while waiting for the summer markets.
Tomato Soup (8 servings, about 2 quarts)
- 2 lbs plum tomatoes
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tbsp sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 onion, shredded
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 1 Zucchini, shredded
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp thyme
Fill a 6-quart pot half way with water and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. The tomatoes will be done when they’re skins begin to split. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a mixing bowl.
Empty the water from the pot and return to the stove over a low heat. Add olive oil, onion, carrot, zucchini and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, give it a stir, and let cook over the low heat to bring out the flavor in the vegetables. While these sauté move on the next step.
The tomatoes should be cool enough to handle by now. Use a pairing knife to remove the caps. Then peel off the skin with your fingers. Then go at it with a potato masher till it’s at a fine consistency. A food processor can be used if you want a puree. The seed can be squeezed out at this point if you’re going for a smoother texture. I prefer to keep them in because I like the taste.
If the soup is too thin, use a tbsp of flour to make a roux. To do this, place the flour in a shallow bowl, add a half tbsp of broth from the soup, and whisk till the flour is completely saturated. Add another spoonful of broth and whisk to work out any lumps that may have formed. Then add additional spoonfuls of broth, one at a time, and whisk until the mixture is a thick liquid. Stir this liquid back into the soup. It should thicken within two minutes.
The soup can be served immediately or stored in the fridge for up to a week.
Pairings: This can be served with bread and butter, or a grilled cheese sandwich. You can add a dollop of sour cream or a short pour of heavy cream to each bowl before serving. A sprinkle of fresh parsley’s also a nice touch.