Simple Fresh Tomato Soup

If there is a food more wonderful than a fresh tomato, I don’t know what it is. I have a serious passion (addiction?) for tomatoes.

I love them. Love to eat them by themselves, in a soup or stew, salad…everywhere. Sweet, tangy and with a host of amazing nutritive benefits (hello lycopene!), tomatoes are also incredibly versatile. I mean, come on. Salsa, spaghetti sauce, ketchup…three HUGELY important things…all made from tomatoes. And the best way to use one of these delicious red balls of joy? On a cool winter day in a hot bowl of soup. And that, friends, is why we are here today.

I have had a great bumper of tomatoes this summer from our plants. (Side note: if anyone knows how to make your plants look alive and not dead, let me know. They produce a lot of fruit, but MAN they’re the spindly-est looking plants ever.) For a lover of tomatoes, this has been excellent. Except when there were SO many, I was afraid they were going to rot. I mean, I love to eat them but even I can only pig down so many in a day. So since I was desperate to find a way to utilize all of these lovelies, I began to search for a good soup recipe. Usually I just use Campbell’s, and it is great and quick. However, since I had the crop, I decided to try a DIY recipe. Except there are a LOT out there. People are quite choosy about soup, so it would seem.

So I perused a few and came up with my own version based on recipes I saw, comments from others, and my likes. I based my soup on this recipe, and made changes. Peeps, it is off-the-charts. And (IF you have any, ha) the leftovers are even more spectacular the next day. The thing that really *makes* this recipe–believe it or not–is the ground cloves. They are a hint in the background, but it really brings out the flavor of the tomato. Too much, you’ll overpower the soup. Start with 1/4 tsp if you’re nervous, but with this much soup, 1/2 tsp is perfect.

Ingredients:

6 c. tomato puree (see notes below)
3 c. chicken or veggie broth
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 Tbsp olive oil/butter (your preference)
2-3 tsp minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cloves (start small if you’re nervous!)
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
salt & pepper
(for the roux to thicken the soup:)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour

*note: you will need to use a food mill, or a blender and strainer to strain out the seeds or you can seed your tomatoes first. For six cups of puree, you’ll need probably 10-12 large tomatoes, or a combination of large and small ones.


There are two of ways to make the tomato puree:
1) Food Mill: Seed & chop your tomatoes and toss them in the cooking pot after you saute the onion and garlic. They’ll break down as you cook. After about 5 minutes, remove and process through a food mill. Return to the pot and add broth to your puree.
2) Blend: You can seed first, or after processing. Quarter the tomatoes and process in a blender or food processor until liquefied. Pour liquid into a strainer to remove seeds (if you didn’t seed first) and then pour puree into the cooking pot.


Directions:

Saute your onion on medium heat in the olive oil (or butter, if you prefer) until lightly golden and translucent. Add in the minced garlic and cook for one minute to become fragrant. Add in the puree, chicken broth, bay leaves, ground cloves, and Italian seasoning. Let these ingredients simmer, not boil, on medium low together for about 30 minutes. The herbs really transfuse the soup the longer it warms. Once it’s been cooking for about 30 minutes, turn the heat up to medium as you prepare the roux.

In a separate pan, melt the butter. When melted, add the flour to form a roux. Note that it will be a thick liquid. Continue cooking about 6-8 minutes until it starts turning a really light golden blond color, and most importantly, when you can smell the nutty flavor. Trust me, when it is ready, you’ll smell exactly what I’m talking about.

Ladle 1-2 ladles full of tomato soup into the roux and STIR quickly. When combined, add the roux to the soup and again, stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, and stir continuously to help distribute the roux and thicken your soup. After about 2-3 minutes, you are done. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking.

At this point, you will have small chunks of onion (if you didn’t do the food mill-puree option). Use an immersion blender to blend the soup for 1-2 minutes until smooth.

Serve with grilled cheese, of course.

Makes about 4-5 large bowls of soup.

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2 Responses to Simple Fresh Tomato Soup

  1. Liz says:

    A kindred spirit! Another tomato lover!! For me it started as my craving during my first pregnancy. Love them still. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  2. Hollie says:

    I have a tomato obsession. The clove in this is super unique but tastes amazing.

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