Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's Not Campbell's Tomato Soup

When I'm feeling energetic, I turn to the garden and the kitchen to have some fun. It's tomato time! Yesterday I picked about 5 pounds of tomatoes...they are finally ripening...and today I was determined to cook with some of them. I asked Sweetie what tomato dishes he likes and he said he hadn't had tomato soup for a while. That was all it for lunch we had my version of fresh tomato soup.

First off I boiled a big pot of water and, four at a time, let the tomatoes blanch, then scooped them out with a slotted spoon into a colander, then ran cold water over them to stop them from cooking. The skins came right off once I removed the core at the stem end. Fresh off the vine tomatoes smell so wonderful!

Here are the peeled tomatoes, looking a little slimy.

Next I thinly sliced a couple of smallish yellow onions

and minced some garlic.

The onion was sauteed first, then the garlic added for the last minute. The tomatoes and their juices went in on top of the onion mixture. The acid in the tomatoes helped me deglaze the pan and all those browned onion bits added to the intense flavor of the soup. I used a can of low sodium chicken broth, about 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and a tablespoon of minced fresh basil.

All of this simmered together for a few minutes. Next I took an immersion blender and blended the soup right in the pot until it was smoother. Some of the onion stayed as long strands, but I liked that, plus the occasional small chunk of fresh tomato. About 1/3 cup of cream was added and once that was just heated, I ladled it into bowls and garnished it with some more fresh basil (did I tell you that the basil is growing like weeds?) and served it up with a few crackers.

Sweetie was delighted with the fresh tomato soup. The color may have been like the Campbell's Cream of Tomato soup we remembered from childhood, but the flavor was much stronger, full of the tang of fresh tomatoes, basil and black pepper, smoothed out just a bit by the cream.

Don't wait for winter for Tomato Soup. Have some now while the tomatoes are ripe and juicy. Use the air conditioner if it is too hot for soup, but do try this recipe!

By the way, today I joined a friend and we went to see the movie Julie and Julia. If you are a food blogger you will love it! If you read food blogs you may miss the occasional nuance, but you will probably also love it. If you have always loved Julia Child as I have, you will be thrilled. If the first Julia Child recipe you ever made was Boeuf Bourguignon, which is my experience, there will be instant rapport with all three women who make it...and you'll have to see the movie to find out who the third woman is and why that is important.

I especially liked that marriage and the support of husbands was given a big part to play in this movie. Sweetie makes it possible for me to blog; by his support and encouragement, by giving me space and time to write and photograph (even as the food gets cold) and by being an enthusiastic consumer of what I cook and bake and by telling everyone about my blog. He is surely the butter on my bread.

Fresh Tomato Soup
Makes 2 generous servings

1 large or two small yellow onions, peeled, ends trimmed, halved, and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 - 2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 pounds fresh tomatoes, skin removed, cored, diced, keeping juices
1 can chicken broth or 2 cups fresh chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
1/3 cup cream or 1/2 and 1/2
basil to garnish, if desired

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, saute' the onions in the olive oil about 5 minutes, until translucent and beginning to brown. Add the garlic and saute another minute, stirring often.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes, stirring to deglaze the pan. Add the chicken broth, salt and pepper and basil and simmer 5 minutes, uncovered.

With a stick blender, regular blender, food processor or food mill, process the soup to make it smoother. (I like mine a little chunky, so I didn't blend it totally smooth.) Return to pot (if necessary) and add the cream. Heat over low heat until heated through.

Serve in soup bowls. Garnish with a basil leaf or chopped basil, if desired.


  1. That sounds fun, Elle. The tomatoes and the movie, I mean. I was looking at some tomatoes yesterday at my local market. No, they are not quite ready yet. I will be a bit more patience ;)

  2. I have yet to see the movie. It was actually sold out when we went.
    The soup looks warm and inviting.

  3. I love the way you said that your sweetie makes blogging possible - without my Keith's support I could never blog the way I do.
    Love the tomato soup, can't wait for summer so we can start enjoying the fruit of the vine!

  4. Anonymous1:01 AM

    Mmmm! I love the color of your soup.

  5. Aww. The soup sounds lovely, we cannot WAIT to see the movie (it's not at our theater yet... may have to rent it back in the U.S., sigh, but people here don't know who Julia Child really was!) and what you said about Sweetie reminded me of an old 20's song: You're the cream in my coffee, you're the salt in my stew; you will always be my necessity, I'd be lost without you."

    You guys are so sweet.

  6. You picked those tomatoes from your garden?? Awesome! That soup looks just lovely - I always enjoy a good tomato soup but have never made one... Want to go see the movie too. There was a writeup in our newspapers about it and I wondered why they couldnt have made a movie about you with all your lovely St Honore stories!!!

  7. Ah, you can read the mind of your readers when you encourage them to switch on the AC. ;)

    The soup looks lovely. Something to keep in mind for next weekend.

  8. It sounds so delightfully yummy. OH for fresh produce! Sigh!

  9. My eldest one will be so gratefull for this recipe. she loves tomatosoup.
    Because the colourfull look of your weblog and the possibillity of the link for breadrecipes I've nominated you for the creative blogger award.

  10. Looks wonderful. You must get such a fresh flavour using your own tomatoes.

  11. I've been looking for a replacement for Campbell's Tomato soup for a while. I'll have to give this a go. Are those heirloom tomatoes? And you grew them yourself? They look lovely.

  12. It looks so rustic! Great!

  13. In my DK spotlight, I admitted to my 'dirty little secret' comfort food, Campbell's tomato soup with a sleeve of Ritz crackers crushed into it. Well, your tomato soup would definitely NOT need a sleeve of craclers crushed into it. It looks divine, and is a must try for me! As for Julie and Julia, I have yet to see it, but I'm really looking forward to it, especially after the glowing reviews from so many bloggers, including you! :)

  14. Anh - tomatoes are coming on strong now...yours may take longer where you are :)

    Peabody, Movie is great, book even more interesting for a blogger.

    Rose, we are fortunate in our husbands...which makes us very lucky!

    Tanita, I actually know that song...the melody played along in my head when I read the words. Hope you get to see the movie soon...or read the book.

    Dharm, We are lucky to live where fruits and veggies love to grow...Google Luther Burbank...and the tales of the Land of St. Honore' still are below the radar.

    Andreas, it is a very good soup.

    DaviMack, there must be some fresh produce in the countryside. Might be hard to get there?

    Marjoke, Thanks for the vote of confidence. I just posted my Kreative Blogger post. Thank you sooo much for the award!

    Katie, Fresh tomatoes make it worth the time it takes to grow from seed. They are yummy!

    Lynn, Yes, heirlooms from seed. Two kinds: Costalutto and Black Krim.

    A & N, yes not too sophisticated.

    Lisa, this has such intense flavor that you won't need crackers. When I wrote this I hadn't read the book the movie is based the book!