The weather around here has shifted - just a little bit. Summer is NOT over, I am sure of that. But the air has shifted in the way it does by late August. It's just enough for the mind to wander to things like wool, and apples and stacking wood...and soup! My favorite pot (my very best friend in the kitchen, no doubt) is now atop the stove and likely will remain there for a very long time.
A recent dinner conversation found us all talking about the soups we were most looking forward to: the boys and Adelaide all declared Mama's Broccoli Soup their favorite; Papa claimed the Moosewood Gingered Carrot as his fave; and I confidently declared my own as the Carrot-Tomato Soup we've enjoyed a few times just this week.
Tomato soup is really one of my very favorite foods. I remember coming home from school when I was just old enough to be turning on the stove all by myself and heating up a can of Campbell's Tomato Soup, with some Saltine crackers crumbled on top. I loved that so much. It wasn't until years later (sad, but true) - in college perhaps - that I had REAL fresh tomato soup. Oh my goodness!
Since then, every late summer I've always looked forward to making and eating fresh tomato soup. But a few years ago, my babes declared a very strong dislike for Mama's favorite soup. I know! So sad! They're truly adventurous eaters, and I remember them being quite polite about it, but it was just a no go. They really didn't like it.
Determined not to live an August life without my beloved tomato soup, last year I did a little messing around until I found something that would work for all of us. Turns out that it was just a little bit of carrot that did the trick and turned my babes into lovers, not haters (okay, and a little bit of cream too. How can you go wrong with cream?). So while this is really TOMATO Soup if you ask me (shhh....) the CARROT beforehand is most important to keeping the peace.Carrot-Tomato Soup
2 TBSP butter
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 lbs tomatoes, peeled* and sliced in half with stems removed
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
(optional) fresh sprigs of thyme, oregano or rosemary
1 medium sized yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
5 medium sized carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
Place sliced tomatoes on a baking sheet. Cover with most of the olive oil (reserving 2 TBSP or so), and the salt and pepper. If you'd like a little more flavor, I sometimes add a fresh sprig or two of oregano or thyme atop the tomatoes. Place in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes to roast.
Halfway through the roasting, melt the butter and remaining olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook until the vegetables begin to get soft (15 minutes or so). When the tomatoes are done, add those to the pot (removing the sprigs of herbs), along with the stock. Simmer on low until the vegetables are all tender (another 15 minutes or so).
Puree the soup. (I don't have an immersion blender, so my regular blender works just fine, doing it in batches.)
Stop here and see below if you'd like to freeze some of the soup for later!**
Return the soup to the pot and onto the stove. Heat slowly. Add the chopped basil and heavy cream.
*To peel the tomatoes, heat a sauce pan full of water and bring to a boil. Place tomatoes in for a minute. Remove and let cool. The skins will peel off easily after that.
**Because I love the basil and cream to be fresh when I serve this, at this point, I try to estimate how much I'll use for dinner now and how much I'd like to freeze for later. Usually, with this recipe, I freeze a one quart mason jar, filling it to within an inch from the top to allow for expansion room when it freezes. It makes a perfect lunch or light dinner size for us, especially when served with some crusty bread and sharp cheddar cheese for sandwich dipping!
For your future reference, a link to this Tomato Soup recipe can now be found on the Tutorials, Recipes, and Patterns page.