Yummy, homemade roasted tomato soup demystified! Tomato soup, for me, has always been a mysterious concoction, usually via a can and with a list of ingredients it would take a day and half to read and longer to learn how to pronounce. But now, thanks to one half of a great recipe from epicurious.com, and a little tinkering, I don’t think I will ever want or have to buy it in the store again!
The recipe is simple, straightforward and contains all the ingredients that make sense in a tomato soup, and none that don’t! With a base of no more than 8 ingredients, and a nice creme fraiche (with three more items) to drizzle on top, you can’t go wrong.
What you need:
For the soup:
3 lbs. plum tomatoes, 3 garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons shallot, dried oregano, unsalted butter, 1 and 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth, 1/4 cup heavy cream and a bit of lemon juice
For the drizzle:
creme fraiche, 3 serrano or jalapeno peppers, large garlic clove, salt
Let’s make some soup!
(preheat your oven to 350 degrees)
First, quarter the plum tomatoes lengthwise. Then prepare some baking sheets by covering them with foil. If your pan doesn’t have an edge – you might want to create one with the foil. I haven’t had a problem with this yet, but if your tomatoes are extra juicy, it could run over the edge – and believe me, my oven doesn’t need any help getting messy!
Arrange your tomato slices skin side down in whichever beautiful array you choose! You may need two pans if one isn’t large enough to give each little slice enough room to get good and caramelized. But that’s ok. Toss in 3 or four garlic cloves, papery skin still on. I am a fan of garlic, so I usually add a few more than the recipe calls for.
Put these little red beauties in the oven and roast for, well, the recipe says 45 minutes to an hour, but I usually have to go a little longer, more like an hour to an hour and a half. You want the underside of the skin to be browned and caramelized. Mmmm.
Next, you want to “finely” chop 3 tablespoons of shallot. I say “finely” because as you will see from the photo below that my interpretation of the word “fine” is somewhat loose. If the idea of non-uniform and slightly detectable pieces of shallot makes you want to scream, you’ll want to take more time then I do! I don’t mind a rustic style soup, and this won’t be the only time in the recipe when you can choose a more refined method. Me? I’m not so refined.
Put a large saucepan or soup pot on the stove and warm over medium-low heat. Toss in 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and the shallots. Toss in the 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano. The recipe from epicurious also tells you to add the salt and pepper here, though I’m not totally sure why. The salt could help the shallots release some moisture, but I do most of my salt and peppering to taste at the end of the process. Your choice!
After a few minutes, the shallots should be softened and fragrant. Now it’s time to add the tomatoes!
Simmer the mixture for 15 minutes with a cover on the pot. While it’s working it’s soupy magic, you can move on to the delicious and a bit spicy drizzle:
Somewhere along the line, my hubby and I acquired a mini-cuisinart, for which I am eternally grateful. You probably already gleaned that I am not a “details” or “finely chopped” kind of cook – and this takes out a little grunt work in those areas. However, you still have to “finely chop” the jalapeno or serrano peppers, remove their seeds and the white stuff from their centers. BE WARNED: pepper oil in the eyes or on the face = ouchy! You can get around this by wearing gloves, as they recommend on epicurious, or you must thoroughly wash your hands. (Thoroughly = make the best and whitest lather you’ve ever seen..and don’t be shy about how much soap you use.)
Next, 0ne of my favorite new discoveries: the garlic-salt mash…it really makes a difference in the blending of the delicious garlic-ky flavor.
Mortar and pestle work wonderfully for this, but I imagine in it’s place you could use a heavy bowl and the end of a wooden spoon or something. Basically you just have to be able to smash the garlic clove repeatedly. It’s especially helpful if someone has annoyed you recently.
Also add your 1/2 teaspoon of salt, as this helps to break down the garlic fibers. And smash away! It will break into strands at first, but if you just keep going a little longer, it will miraculously turn into a smooth paste and you may never bother chopping garlic again!
Mix the chopped peppers, the garlic paste and 1/2 cup of creme fraiche in the cuisinart – or smash them together however you can. And voila! You have a yummy drizzle!
The soup should be ready for it’s final transformation. Here is another place where I and the epicurious recipe diverge. The official recipe call for you to blend the hot soup (IN BATCHES!) and then sieve it through a mesh to get rid of the chunks. Two problems I have with this are: I had a bad accident with exploding hot soup the first (AND LAST) time I tried to blend it in a blender. And I find it a little negligent when recipes don’t warn you about this little trick of physics wherever it is recommended! How should I know that it will blow the lid off, even if you are doing very small amounts?
And secondly, I sort of LIKE the little chunks…it’s a little more “rustic.” So, instead, I use an immersion blender in the pot, being sure to tip the pot so I don’t expose part of the blade and fling pipping hot soup onto myself or someone else.
Of course, if all you have is a blender, then just promise me you will proceed CAREFULLY and be sure to hold the top on with a gloved hand – and to go in very small batches, maybe a cup or two at a time. When you are finished you can just put it back in the pot, or sieve it and put it back into a cleaned pot, so you avoid whatever bits are still in there!
The last and final step is whisking in the heavy cream, about 1/4 cup, a little lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. This creates the beautiful and creamy red color that we know and love in tomato soup!
Now you’ve done it! You’ve made your very own roasted tomato soup! As you may have noticed from the recipe on epicurious, there IS another half to this soup: the Roasted Yellow Pepper soup. It’s also a delicious soup. But the truth is, both soups are wonderful enough to be served on their own. Learning this half can just be your first step, but I think it is certainly nice to have a simple and yummy tomato soup recipe on hand when you don’t feel like going the whole nine yards!
So get out there (or into your kitchen, more accurately), serve it up and drizzle it! Now you look like your very own gourmet chef with a soup that took about two hours to prepare!
Additional note: We found that the drizzle is more than you really need for the soup – so my husband had the inspiration to use it on some sauteed mahi – mahi. We also lightly caramelized some mango in a stainless steel pan to add a little sweetness to the fish. It turned out deliciously! And who doesn’t like using everything? I’m sure there’s lots of other things to do with the drizzle – if you do something interesting with it, send us a picture! Here is our fish:
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the soup!