Tomato Soup — Nothing More, Nothing Less

On a cold rainy day in late September, I decided I wanted to make soup. Originally I wanted to do a cheeseburger soup but then I looked around my kitchen and saw heaping bowls full of tomatoes from my dad’s garden and decided that perhaps a tomato soup would be the more prudent choice.

And really, what’s more delicious and cozy than tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches?

So I ran to the store to pick up a few missing items from my pantry and got to work. My nephew flipped heavily buttered Texas toast onto the griddle and made a stack of grilled cheese for the whole family while I tossed the soup together. In less than an hour we were digging into the most perfect bowls of creamy-but-still-kinda-chunky, perfectly orange and speckled homemade tomato soup.

This is a very basic recipe, for a very hearty soup. I hope it keeps you warm and happy all season long.

Tomato Soup

This recipe made 8 large servings of soup.

Ingredients Needed:

  • 6 pounds tomatoes (I used a mix of oblong tomatoes from my dad’s garden and store bought greenhouse variety — the important thing is to make sure they’re red and ripe)
  • 1 yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 8 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional, for richness)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley (for color)

Optional Stir-Ins include crumbled goat cheese, shredded parmesan, croutons, crackers, etc. You know what you love!

Look at all those tomatoes! Phew… Six pounds is more than you think!
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Start chopping your tomatoes into small, rough chunks. For big greenhouse tomatoes, I recommend knocking them down into eighths. For smaller or oddly shaped tomatoes like the ones I had, halves and quarters are fine.
  3. Spread the tomatoes out onto a large baking sheet (or two smaller ones).
  4. Dice your red bell pepper and onion and spread them out over the tomato pieces.
  5. Mince the garlic and evenly spread it out over the mix.
  6. Dust the mixture with the dried herbs and drizzle with olive oil.
  7. Using your hands, gently toss the mixture to evenly coat the vegetables.
  8. Sprinkle on salt and pepper
  9. Roast on 450 for 25-30 minutes, stirring the pans halfway through. Because I was using two pans, I also rotated them on the racks to make sure they were getting cooked evenly.
  10. Once your tomatoes are soft and tender (easily mushed with a spoon), crank your oven to broil and let the pan sit under the broiler for 5 minutes, or until you see some beautiful char popping up. The more char, the deeper the flavor (just don’t burn the whole pan!).
I hadn’t tossed the mixture yet, but I couldn’t help but take a picture of those giant piles of minced garlic…

It’s a little messy, but your house will smell amazing. Just be careful to not burn yourself with volcanically hot tomato juice when you move the pans.

I could have left them in a little longer but I was getting impatient — and HUNGRY!

While the tomatoes are sitting under the broiler, dump the chicken broth into a large stock pot and bring it to a boil. I used my cast iron Dutch oven, but any stock pot will do.

HERE’S WHERE IT (POTENTIALLY) GETS TRICKY

If you have an immersion blender, simply dump the the charred tomato mix into the stock pot and blend the broth and tomatoes until good and creamy, and then skip to the final steps. If, like me, you don’t own an immersion blender you can still accomplish this with a little extra effort.

While the broth simmers on the stove, let your tomato mix cool for 5 minutes before scraping it into a blender and processing until smooth.

IT CAN BE DANGEROUS TO BLEND HOT LIQUIDS SO PLEASE BE CAREFUL. Never fill your blender more than 1/3 or 1/2 full, and always start on the lowest speed. Work in multiple batches if you need — I did this in two batches.

When hot food is inside your blender and you put a lid on top, it heats up the air above between the food and the blender lid, and causes pressure to build up in the blender jar. This pressure can actually cause the top to blow right off as hot food explodes out the top of the blender jar.

Jennifer’s Kitchen (https://jenniferskitchen.com/2011/11/blending-hot-foods-in-a-blender.html)

Once you’ve got it blended to your liking, dump the pureed tomato mix into the stock pot and stir. Let it simmer for a few minutes, stirring frequently.

The Final Steps

Take a taste.

If it’s a little too acidic or tart for your liking, here’s where you can dribble in the heavy cream. This make it creamy, indulgent, and rich. Pour in half, give it a swirl, and taste. Add more if you think it needs it. I added the whole shebang. Stir and simmer for a minute or two after adding the cream so it all cooks together like a dream.

If you think it’s perfectly bright without the cream, you’re under no obligation to add it! Simple as that.

Dust the pot with the fresh parsley for a little color and start ladling it out to the masses.

Post-heavy cream, pre-parsley. Look at all that wonderful speckling!

If you want to make it an extra special meal, I recommend throwing in a spoonful of crumbled goat cheese or shredded parmesan. Shredded cheddar, croutons, or saltine crackers are all also fabulous ideas.

There you have it, folks.

Good ol’ fashioned tomato soup in under an hour. No bells, no whistles. Just soup.

Enjoy!

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