This is really not the season to be sharing this recipe. I should be sharing it with you in August or September when you are drowning in tomatoes. I would have told you about it then, but I decided not to can this wonderful soup this past year because I was over zealous in my canning of it the year before. This is how I learn.
It's on my list for this coming harvest season because we are running low. Baby attached to my hip, I am making this soup again. I am sharing this recipe with you now because it's perfect for these cool, rainy days. And, it's even more perfect for cold, snowy ones.
I have always adored tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. It's a meal that exudes comfort for me. Before we started growing our own food, I was a proud supporter of Campbell's Tomato Soup. It was one of those items I refused to buy the generic version of. Don't mess with my tomato soup.
Then, a little over two years ago, I came across this recipe. I tried it. I loved it. I have not eaten Campbell's since. In the original recipe, they recommend making extra and freezing it. I am pretty darn comfortable with canning, so I decided to can it instead. It worked beautifully.
So, here is my assignment: to remind you of this recipe come tomato season. Here is your assignment: to make it when I remind you of this recipe come tomato season. Agreed?
Usually, when I serve this tomato soup (all that's required is to pour it in a saucepan and reheat it) I make grilled cheese sandwiches for along side/dunking. Yesterday, Jamey made oatmeal rolls and roasted some of our garlic that is beginning to sprout. So, instead of grilled cheese, we toasted oatmeal rolls with roasted garlic spread atop. Perfect. Even Sam preferred the garlic-topped rolls to the plain ones.
Classic Tomato Soup (adapted from Everyday FOOD magazine, March 2006 issue)
This recipe makes 6 quarts and can be frozen or canned. *If you intend to can this recipe, see the notes below (under "To Can") before starting.
8 tbsp. (or 1 stick) butter
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 cup all purpose flour
6 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped, fresh basil
7 cups chicken or vegetable broth
14 cups whole, peeled tomatoes
3-5 tsp. salt
3-4 tbsp. honey
freshly ground black pepper
In a large stock pot, melt butter and add oil and chopped onion. Cook until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and tomato paste and cook another minute or two. Add chopped basil, broth and tomatoes, breaking the tomatoes up a bit with your spoon. Bring it to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Puree the soup one of two ways. If you have an immersion blender, use this in your pot to puree the soup to a consistency of your liking (you can puree it smooth or leave it a bit chunky). If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer the soup to your blender in batches until it is pureed (and, most importantly, add "immersion blender" to your wish list- it's a wonderful tool).
With the pureed soup in the stock pot, season it with salt, pepper and honey, tasting as you go.
*We can this recipe as is, but if you would like to increase the acidity further, soften the onion in a little water instead of butter or oil and place 2 tbsp. white vinegar or lemon juice in the bottom of each quart jar before adding the hot soup.
Once it's perfect, transfer the soup to hot, sterile quart jars, leaving adequate head space. Clean the rims and top with hot, sterile lids and rings. Place the jars in a hot water bath for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the jars from the canner and wait for the blessed 'pops'. This recipe makes 6 quarts.
And, don't fret because you want some of this soup now. These days will be here again before we know it.