Did you can any tomatoes this summer or fall? If so, these first cold days of November are the perfect time to start enjoying that sun ripened home grown tomato flavor as a classic easy comfort food: tomato soup.
Basic Tomato Soup (makes 4 entrée-sized bowls)
-Equipment: medium-to-large pot, immersion blender
-2 quarts canned tomatoes (from your garden, or from the store)
-1 onion, chopped (yellow or white type, not Vidalia or sweet)
-2-4 cloves of garlic, diced
-1 tablespoon fat (I love using bacon grease or butter here, but feel free to use whatever you prefer to fry in)
-splash of olive oil
-salt, pepper, and herbs to taste
1) Heat pot and add your frying oil/fat. Once hot, add chopped onions. Stir occasionally until transparent. If they’re sticking, cover pot and lower heat.
2) Add garlic, stir, and let cook for a few minutes. Once the garlic is soft, you’re ready for the next step.
3) Dump in your tomatoes, and bring to boil. If you are adding dried green herbs like basil or oregano, add them in now. Then turn down to simmer, and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes.
4) Turn off heat. Now is the time to add your olive oil, salt, seasonings, and/or fresh green herbs. Next, stick your immersion blender into the pot and purée. Taste and adjust.
5) When you’re ready to eat, turn the burner back on until the soup is hot. Enjoy!
Variations: There’s nothing quite like the simplicity of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and olive oil. It can be fun, however, to play around with this recipe – especially if it’s a regular menu item at your house. We love the following variations:
-Make it Hot: add cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste
-Basil Lovers: add a container of pesto after cooking but before blending
-Cream of Tomato: Add 1/2 cup cream or half and half, or 1 cup whole milk after cooking but before blending
-Garnishes: beautify your bowls with a sprinkle of fresh chopped basil (watch out, it browns quickly), a dollop of pesto, chopped parsley, or chopped arugula
-Make it Moroccan: add 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ginger, cumin, and paprika when you add your tomatoes. Adjust to taste.