But now that it's cold again, it seems like a good time to let you know what I've been doing with all those paste tomatoes I grew last summer and put into gallon-sized freezer bags in the chest freezer. I was thinking of making pasta sauce or salsa with them, but finally decided they were too good for that. I wanted to put them in something where the tomato is the star, and not something that's a condiment on something else.
So I've been making them into tomato soup, which is very simple and easy to make and wonderful comfort food on a cold day.
Like most of my "recipes" on this blog, this is not very precise. Feel free to tweak it to your own taste.
- Tomatoes - if you don't have homegrown saved up in the freezer, canned will work
- Chicken broth - preferably homemade from chicken bones you've also been saving up in the freezer, or vegetable broth if you're vegetarian
- Onion and garlic
- Butter - a little bit to cook the onion and garlic in
- Herbs - optional, but good if you have some, especially basil
- Heavy cream - if you want the creamy version
I've found it's easier to strain the puree if you simmer it a bit first. I think it makes the flesh of the tomato come off the skins more completely or something.
Next you will need to cook some onions and/or garlic in some butter until soft and caramelized. This is optional but gives the soup a nice sweetness. You can even run the cooked onions through the blender too, so your finished soup will be perfectly smooth.
While it's simmering, you add chicken broth. I'd say about an equal amount of tomato puree and chicken broth, but it's all to taste. The broth dilutes the tomato puree a bit, because otherwise it would be like trying to eat a bowl full of marinara sauce. But taste as you go and put in however much broth you want until it tastes good to you. Also add salt, pepper, and herbs to taste.
When it's as thick as you'd like it, it's time to serve. At this point you can also freeze some. This soup is easy to make, but takes some time to simmer it down, so it might be a good idea to make an extra big batch and freeze some in serving-size containers for later.
And of course you serve it with some crusty bread, or even better, a grilled cheese like in the picture! That ought to keep you warm until it's 80 degrees again in a couple of days.