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018This is a simple, full-flavored version of tomato soup.  But, you have options.  You can eat it as is, and that’s a wonderful option, or you can choose to add some herbs, spices and flavorings; they can change the soup completely.  This is simply tomato soup  at its best and easiest.  Believe it or not, this is more or less the soup I learned to make in home ec when I was in junior high school.  We used baking soda and milk, instead of cream, etc.  The baking soda neutralized the acid, so the milk won’t curdle.  It also destroys a heap of vitamin C (a tomato has about 14 mg/100 g of vitamin C or about 1/5 of the RDA for vitamin C), 014so I use one of the “milk” options given instead, in this case heavy cream.  I’ve listed no added thickener; the tomato paste covers that, but if you prefer a slightly thicker soup, use a cornstarch slurry, added near the end of cooking.

 

 

 

Simply Tomato Soup (with Options)

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Simply Easy
  • Print

  • 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, red onion or leek, finely chopped (about 1 good cup)
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or put through a press
  • 1 28-ounce can (fire-roasted) tomatoes, with their juice
  • 2-3 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3-5 teaspoons white or brown sugar, honey or maple syrup (optional)

Liquid Flavor Ingredient (choose one only)—

  •  3/4 cup heavy cream (do not use milk or 1/2 &1/2, as either may curdle)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock (in addition to the above amount)

Spice Flavor Ingredient (choose one combination only)—

  •  2 teaspoons grated orange zest, 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest, 3 tablespoon minced cilantro, 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder and 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin and 3 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 3-4 tablespoons finely minced fresh basil OR finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1-2 tablespoons finely minced fresh dillweed
  • 1 tablespoon fines herbes
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon leaves
  • 2 teaspoons smoked sweet OR hot paprika and 1 teaspoon turmeric

Heat the butter or olive oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and a three-fingered pinch of salt; “sweat” the onions for 2 minutes.

Add the garlic and continue to sweat for 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, their juice, tomato paste and the stock; bring to a simmer; simmer for 10 minutes. Add your choice of creamy ingredient, and your choice of flavor mix; simmer for 5-10 minutes longer.

If you wish a smooth soup, use an immersion blender right in the pot or pour the tomato soup into a blender and blend until smooth, working in batches, if needed; return to the soup pot. If you want a soup that still has some texture, purée only a portion.

Taste; adjust the seasoning (add the sugar, if you wish); reheat to serve.  The tomato soup will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for a few days. Reheat gently; do no boil.

Simply Tomato Soup (with Options) Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.

004This soup really just makes itself.  You can use frozen chopped onions and they work great in this, because freezing starts to break down the structure, so they are already on their way to becoming soft, so cooking time will be much less.  Perfect for an after-work meal.

I mentioned that I would post recipes to use leftover roasted supermarket chicken.  This soup kills two birds with one soup (pun intended!).  Add the leftover, shredded chicken (and maybe some mashed potatoes and peas, too) at the end of cooking and heat just until heated through.  You may want to choose to add cumin or tarragon, depending on what flavor you feel like eating.  If you’re going to purée the soup, purée first, then add the leftovers…kind of like, pillage, then burn!

011As you can see, I puréed this with my “boat motor”, otherwise known as my immersion blender.  These make puréeing anything incredible easy, but a blender works well, too.  Don’t overfill a blender or you may have an emergency room experience you don’t want to have.  The heat can expand and push the lid up and scalding hot liquid goes everywhere, including all of you!  No more than half, please.  I don’t use a food processor to purée liquids, as I find it to be way too messy.

027I usually don’t purée tomato soup, but I’m taking this to a sick friend and smooth feels better when you’re sick.  Don’t you think?  I like this soup chunky and I love to add corn kernels, about 1 cup (fresh in the summer and frozen in the winter).  And I love dill.  So I added dill to my portion (in the opening picture)…The Latin Lover likes it just fine the way it is…hot, creamy and tomato-y.