Soups are soothing, comforting and satisfying. I think each warm spoonful trickles down and seeps into every crevice of my being. It soothes and brings a toastiness not only to my body, but also to my soul. It’s no wonder most people eat soup when they’re sick!
For me, what I like the most about soup is how light and refreshing it tastes but at the same time is so satisfying. I love all kinds of soups, starting with Borsch, Chicken Noodle Soup, Zuppa Toscana to more “exotic ones” like Rassolnik, Schi, Okroshka, etc. Just kidding about the exotic part – those are all Russian soups that the rest of the world may consider a little out of ordinary:) but we Russians grew up eating all the time. Or at least our moms made us. Isn’t it funny how most kids don’t like soup? But then they grow up and all that soup-hate changes.
I especially like soups that are classics. Tomato soup fits into that category perfectly, and is loved by both children and adults. I make Tomato Soup quite often and always serve it with some crunchy Garlic Bread or Parmesan Herb Croutons. This soup is creamy, aromatic and feels sort of rustic.
Since I live in a city apartment and don’t even have a porch to grow a pot of herbs, I can’t really rely on getting some good quality tomatoes to use for this soup. Besides, tomatoes aren’t in season very long, and I want to enjoy this soup all year, so canned tomatoes it is. I’ve come to find out that canned tomatoes are picked during the peak of the season, so they are actually a very good choice. Roasting the tomatoes in the oven brings out their sweetness and intensifies their flavor. Sprinkling them with some brown sugar first, deepens the caramelization even more and mellows out the acidity of the tomatoes. Using onions and garlic as aromatics to bring more flavor to the soup is a perfect combination to complement the soup and not overpower it. Splashing in a touch of cream at the end gives this soup it’s creamy and luscious texture and balances the acidity of the tomatoes too.
When I am lucky enough to have an abundance of beautiful, fresh tomatoes, I ABSOLUTELY make this soup, in which case I use a bit more tomatoes than the recipe calls for.
This soup is quick enough to make on a busy weeknight and the simple flavors will satisfy both children and adults.
2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes, drained, JUICE RESERVED or 2 – 2 1/2 lbs fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 Tablespoon dry herb mixture and onion salt, each
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped, or 2 large shallots, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth
1/3-1/2 cup heavy cream
fresh parsley and basil, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
I also like to peel the tomatoes first by cutting an X on the tops and bottoms of the tomatoes, putting them into a large bowl, and then pouring boiling water over them. After about a minute, I put the tomatoes in ice water and then then peel like a charm. Some sorts of tomatoes have very thin skin that will completely disintegrate after blending the soup, but others won’t and you will have annoying little pieces, especially if you don’t have a good blender.
Sprinkle with brown sugar, the dry herb mixture and onion salt. Add part of the minced garlic, about half. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and ground black pepper as well. My favorite seasonings to use in tomato soup (and almost everything else I cook), is this combination of the Trader Joe’s onion salt, which isn’t too salty and chicken seasoning from Simply Organic Grilling Seasons. There are so many amazing dry herbs in both of these. It’s the perfect flavor boost to almost any dish. Roast for 30-45 minutes, until the tomatoes are dark gold and almost charred in spots. This highly depends on the tomatoes that you are using. They should appear dry. Fresh tomatoes will have a lot more juice than canned. Set aside.Melt the butter in a medium pot. Add the onion or shallots, season with salt. Cook, about 5 minutes, until tender and beginning to turn golden. Add the remaining garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and flour, stirring until all the flour is incorporated. Cook for about a minute. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon so all the flour is incorporated into the butter.
Pour in a small part of the chicken broth or reserved tomato juice, stirring vigorously (or better yet, use a whisk), just so that the flour is evenly distributed in the soup and no lumps form. Add the rest of the chicken broth, reserved tomato juice, and the roasted tomatoes to the soup. Stir together, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Season with salt. Cook for another 15 minutes.
Puree the soup in a blender.
You’ll need to do this in batches. Don’t fill the blender more than half full, or you just might have an explosion. Speaking from experience:).
Return the pureed soup to the pot, and add the cream.
- 2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes, drained, JUICE RESERVED or 2 - 2½ lbs fresh tomatoes
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ Tablespoon dry herb mixture and onion salt, each
- 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped, or 2 large shallots, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1½ Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth
- ⅓-1/2 cup heavy cream
- salt, pepper
- fresh parsley and basil, to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Drain the tomatoes. Reserve the juice. If using fresh tomatoes, peel them, coarsely chop them and remove most of the seeds. Spread the tomatoes on the prepared baking sheet.
- Sprinkle with brown sugar, the dry herb mixture and onion salt. Season with salt and ground black pepper as well. Add part of the minced garlic, about half. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Roast for 30-45 minutes, until the tomatoes are dark gold and almost charred in spots. This highly depends on the tomatoes that you are using. They should appear dry. Fresh tomatoes will have a lot more juice than canned. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium pot. Add the onions, season with salt. Cook, about 5 minutes, until tender and beginning to turn golden. Add the remaining garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and flour, stirring until all the flour is incorporated. Cook for about a minute.
- Pour in a small part of the broth or reserved tomato juice, stirring vigorously or use a whisk, to prevent lumps from forming.
- Add the rest of the broth or reserved tomato juice and the roasted tomatoes. Stir together, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Season with salt. Cook for another 15 minutes.
- Puree the soup in batches.
- Return the soup to the pot and add the cream. Garnish with fresh herbs, like parsley and basil.