Oven Roasted Tomato Soup, Quick Tomato Soup, Diet Tomato Soup
I was 19 the first time I had tomato soup that wasn't from a Campbell's soup can. I still vividly remember the moment when I tasted the soup. How was it done? What made it taste like that? I had to unlock the secret. I just could not get enough. And that soup was made with onion sautéed in butter and oil until soft and sweet. Then canned whole tomatoes and a little whole milk. I've been making various versions tomato soup ever since and have three different recipes depending on time and season. It is one of my daughter, Katherine's, favorite things I make. For work I also serve it in demitasse cups with our mini grilled cheese sandwiches as an hors d'oeuvres. It is an American classic that everyone loves.
When tomatoes are at their peak in the summer there is nothing better than Oven Roasted Tomato Soup. But the key to this version is that you must find delicious tomatoes and that isn't always easy. I currently near a bunch of farms so it is easy for me to find good tomatoes in the summer at a Farmstand or the Farmer's Market. But I remember when I lived in Hawaii I could not find a good tomato to save my life. I had amazing pineapple and sweet onions but couldn't find a good tomato so that is when I went back to that original recipe that had first stopped me in my tracks which was made with canned whole plum tomatoes.
And sometimes I just have zero time even if I could get good tomatoes and that was when I came up with the Quick Tomato Soup Recipe. I throw that together whenever I need to make a quick lunch or dinner. For the canned version I like San Marzano Tomatoes or Trader Joe's Organic Diced Tomatoes.
Then, about ten years ago, I was writing diet recipes when I was created a diet called "The Fiddle Diet" that I renamed "The Balanced Diet." I still have an entire notebook of research that needs to be typed up. I haven't had time to type it but I still completely believe in it. It is healthy and delicious and as the title says: well balanced. Because what I really believe for maintaining a healthy weight is eating a little of everything in moderation. The diet version of Tomato Soup is just like the quick one only without the butter, flour or milk. Because those items are eliminated it works well for those who have celiac because it doesn't have the roux (flour and butter mixture) in it. It can also easily be made vegan by changing the chicken stock to vegetable stock. Click here for the Diet Version of Tomato Soup. So half the time when I make the quick version below I just skip the butter and flour. Do whatever you like depending on how thick you like your soup. Be sure to have the onions and garlic fully softened and sautéed before you add the butter and flour.
OVEN ROASTED TOMATO SOUP
To roast the tomatoes:
3 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes
(approximately 11 average sized tomatoes)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Zest of one lemon
Fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
To make the soup:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups homemade chicken broth of low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
Roast the tomatoes: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Remove the stems from the tomatoes. Slice them in half and place them in a large bowl. Toss the tomatoes with the olive oil, lemon zest, kosher salt and fresh thyme leaves. Place the seasoned tomatoes on rimmed baking pans (also known as half sheet pans) lined with parchment paper.
Roast at 400 degrees until the tomatoes are "deflated" and the skins are brown.
Remove the tomatoes from the oven and leet them cool for a few minutes. Carefully remove the skins and discard them. (Or I just eat the skins. They are completely edible and delicious they just don't work in the soup.)
In a large soup pot over medium high heat, sauté the diced yellow onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle the onions with a pinch of kosher salt. Cook, occasionally stirring, for five minutes. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and then add the minced garlic.
Turn the heat down and be careful not to burn the garlic. (Burnt garlic will make the entire soup bitter, so discard and start again if the garlic burns.). Cook the garlic and onions, stirring frequently for another, 3 minutes until golden brown.
Add the roasted tomatoes, 2 cups of chicken stock or chicken broth, red pepper flakes, basil leaves and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. You can also add more thyme leaves if you wish.
Purée with an immersion or stick blender. (If you use a normal blender then be sure to remove the middle of the lid as pictured in this link and then place a kitchen towel over the opening. This will allow the steam to escape. Otherwise you will have an explosion of soup all over your ceiling and counter. Once you make that mistake you will never make it again!.)
Garnish with a teaspoon of sour cream or plain yogurt if you wish. The soup can be made up to a week in advance. It also freezes well and will keep in the freezer for 3 months.
QUICK TOMATO SOUP
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch of kosher salt
(if making a roux I would do it here and add in 2 tablespoons of flour and two tablespoons of butter and cook stirring with the already sautéed onions and garlic.)
2 14.5 ounce cans of whole plum or diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth (or 2 cups if you omit the milk below)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoons tomato paste, optional
1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
1 cup whole milk, half n half or heavy cream, (can use additional chicken broth as a substitute)
In a soup pot heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally for at least five minutes or until onions are soft and translucent. Then add another tablespoon of olive oil and add the garlic. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes until garlic is soft.
(If you are adding the butter and flour then add it here. Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture and add the butter and cook for at least 2-3 minutes.)
Add the cans of tomatoes, chicken broth, red pepper flakes, tomato paste (optional), basil leaves and kosher salt. Cook until hot.
Purée with an immersion or stick blender. (If you use a normal blender then be sure to remove the middle of the lid as pictured in this link and then place a kitchen towel over the opening. This will allow the steam to escape. Otherwise you will have an explosion of soup all over your ceiling and counter. Once you make that mistake you will never make it again!
Add the milk (or substitute additional chicken broth) and cook until hot.