Monday, November 12, 2012

I say tomato. You say tomato. We all say soup.

Tomatoes. So delicious. So versatile. I planted nine tomato plants this summer with grand visions of canning. Mother nature had other plans. It totally wasn't my gardening skills. Two plants didn't bear any fruit at all, one only gave me tomatoes with bottom rot, and two only gave me two or three tomatoes. So, not enough to can. I'll just try again next year.

Recently, my roommate came home with huge bag of perfectly ripe, gorgeous tomatoes from her grandmother's garden and told me to do something with them. I had no idea what to do with them so I've been avoiding them. So fast forward to this past Friday morning. I was moving out of my house, she was helping me load the car and managed to sneak the tomatoes into the front seat. So now, fast forward to Friday night. Furniture is in, bed is put together and I'm trying to figure out what to make for dinner with whatever we've got in the house because I was absolutely, not on your life, going back into town to go to the grocery store. I suggested tomato soup, the mister suggested grilled cheese and boom, dinner.

Now, I have never made tomato soup from scratch. I've thought about it, but that's as far as I get. So I just free-styled it, which should surprise no one. I took the tomatoes (I had 14 or so of various size), quartered them, put 'em on a foil-lined baking sheet, drizzled olive oil on them and added a bit of salt and pepper. Stuck them in the over at 375 for about 40 minutes until them were nice and roasty. I also stuck half a head of garlic in a foil packet in to roast. 

So after about thirty minutes, I headed back into the kitchen to start the soup. Chopped up half a large yellow onion, a shallot, half a red pepper, a rib of celery and sauteed them all in some olive oil and butter. After about five minutes, I added some fresh rosemary, thyme and oregano from the garden and let it cook for about another five minutes. Took the tomatoes out of the oven and let them rest for a few minutes while the other stuff cooked down. I then scraped the tomatoes and garlic off the baking sheets and added them to the soup pot, adding an extra 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes with basil for good measure. After that, I also poured in some chicken stock and because I ran short on that, a bit of beef stock. It was probably four cups total, but really I just poured it in until it covered all the yummy goodness in the pot. I then stirred it all together and left it to get even yummier for about twenty minutes.

Then it got tricky. This is where you must blend everything together. Ideally, an immersion blender is great, but really, how many of us have that in our kitchens? Not this girl. So instead, I got out the blender and a couple cups at a time, scooped out the chunks and blended them up, pouring them into another bowl until everything was out of the soup pot. Then it all got dumped back in together. It worked just fine, I just hate accumulating the extra two dishes to do in this process. I may be a bit OCD about trying to use as few dishes as possible when I cook. But I digress... Once the soup is back in the pot, add some sherry. I only had about 2 tbsp. left so that's all I added. I would have liked to put in about a third of a cup. This is also where I added some half and half to make it creamy. I added just about half a cup which gave it a little extra oomph, but didn't make it crazy creamy. While this cooked for about ten minutes, I got busy making the grilled cheese. 

While this soup is a bit time consuming, it's simple and delicious. It's also just what I needed after a long day of moving on a cold, snowy day.