Tomato Soup……it’s not what you think

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I was never a big fan of tomato soup. Was, being the key word. You know, that stuff in the red and white can that our moms made for us. The grilled cheese served along side the soup was totally kick butt. It had to be…..to choke down that pink stuff in the bowl.  Pink because my mom always put milk in it.  Then I grew up and had house made tomato basil soup in a restaurant. I started making my own tomato soup from the abundance of fresh tomatoes in the Summer. I had become a believer in tomato soup.

My food loving sister was telling me about a roasted tomato soup she had at a friend’s house. She got the recipe and passed it on to me. So, I made it last night. I had about six tomatoes and a box of cherry tomatoes that somehow survived the week of Thanksgiving. They were getting “iffy”.  Which means IF we don’t eat these in the the next day, we will have to pitch them. As in: toss them over to the creek for the critters? Not on my watch!

When life gives you “iffy” vegetables…roast them! So I did. I quartered the tomatoes and halved the cherry tomatoes. I smashed and peeled the garlic cloves and sliced and cut the onion. Drizzled some olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. That was it!

I had a quart of homemade chicken stock in the freezer and more than a dash of heavy cream in the fridge. Italian bread for the grilled cheese sandwiches and dinner was born. Plus, my house smelled like somebody’s Italian Nonna lived there.

This soup hardly took any time at all. Please give this a try. You can thank me later for sharing well with others.

Roasted Tomato Soup

1 to 2 pounds of tomatoes, quartered (can mix halved cherry and grape tomatoes)

1 medium onion, sliced and then quarter the round slices

6 cloves of garlic, slightly smashed to remove the peel

1/2 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 quart low sodium chicken stock

1 teaspoon of Chicken Better than Bouillon or 1 bouillon cube

1/4 cup heavy cream, or more if you like it creamier (or use half n half or milk or nothing)

Optional  herbs: fresh basil (when in season, of course) or fresh parsley or thyme or tarragon. If you do not want herbs then do not put them in. It is totally up to you. I didn’t have any fresh herbage, so I did not use any. Next Summer, I will have fresh herbs and I will use them.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the vegetables on to a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Lightly sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, the veggies should have gotten a bit of brown color on some of them.

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Turn the oven off and let them stay in the oven for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and scrape the goodness into a large pot. Your house should smell divine about now. Add the chicken stock and bouillon and on medium heat bring the soup up to a simmer and then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender or a Bullet or a blender or a food processor, blend up the contents real well. If tiny bits of seeds and stuff bother you, strain through a sieve. It never bothers me. I love that bit of texture.

Return the blended mixture back into the pot. Taste to see if it needs any more seasonings. You may need to heat the soup up a bit more. After the soup has warmed back up, add the cream…or not. You know I added the cream! Taste again to see if any more seasonings are needed. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches. Makes about 4 one cup servings. Do not boil after adding the dairy, it will curdle. Not bad to eat, but it doesn’t look so good. A pat of butter would finish it off quite nicely.

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