Yes, I am still on a soup kick – and I don’t intend to stop any time soon. And what soup repertoire would be complete without a good wholesome tomato soup? Here are my two favorite recipes for tomato soup: a summer recipe that calls for fresh tomatoes, and a winter one that uses canned tomatoes.
There are few things more comforting than a big bowl of tomato soup served along side a grilled cheese. The trouble is, tomatoes are only good once a year, in the summer, when you don’t necessarily crave hot soup. How do you make great tomato soup in the middle of winter when the tomatoes are pink and tasteless? I found the solution in one of my favorite cookbooks, The New Best Recipe, a compilation of Cook’s Illustrated’s recipes. If you are not familiar with Cook’s Illustrated, it is a food magazine based on thorough recipe testing. Extensive time spent in the kitchen tweaking all kinds of basic recipes from tomato soup to creme brulee, I always consult this cookbook when starting to develop a new dish. My favorite aspect of the book is that each recipe is accompanied by a page long explanation of their trials and tribulations during the testing process. Describing what worked and what did not, the explanations give further insight into not only the particular recipe, but the food science behind it as well.
Ok, back to tomato soup…
Let’s start with the winter version, seeing that it is 10 degrees outside. Cook’s Illustrated suggests that you roast whole peeled canned tomatoes to achieve a sweet and flavorful tomato soup without having to use fresh tomatoes. I have found this a terrific solution and also a great money saver. (I bought my 28 oz cans of tomatoes for one dollar a piece, bringing the total cost of my recipe – which easily feeds 10 – to a little under $10.00. Now if that’s not a deal, I don’t know what is.) With very few ingredients and a shorter simmering time, this recipe is relatively easy, but tastes like it took days to make. The only small downside is the time consuming process of “de-seeding” the tomatoes…but I think it’s a small price to pay for this nostalgic soup. I suggest doubling the recipe (as I do with most of my soups). If you have a large enough pot, (also something I suggest you invest in) making large batches allows you to stretch the soup for multiple uses. I usually have soup for dinner one night, give some away to friends, freeze some, and then enjoy the left-overs for lunch for the next couple of days. There is nothing more rewarding than walking into the house after a long day of work and sitting down to a steaming bowl of homemade soup in 10 minutes. I find soup makes a hearty meal for me and my husband when it is accompanied by a sandwich, salad, or even just a great loaf of bread. A perfect wintertime meal!
Now the summer time tomato soup is a whole other story. When the tomatoes are ripe, you certainly need to take advantage. The following recipe is one that I like to use at the peak of tomato season. Even though this is a warm soup, there are still those nights during the summer when a cool breeze warrants a little comfort. And of course, I make a lot of gazpacho during the summer months as well, but let’s just stick with hot soups today. Contrary to our traditional wintertime soup, this version is slightly more textured and not as heavy. This would pair perfectly with a light salad or fresh mozzarella and grilled veggies.
Recipe: Cream of Tomato Soup
Recipe: Fresh Tomato Soup