Homestyle Tomato Soup
A pile of ripe tomatoes and a drizzly day remind me of another soup we used to make in the deli. This creamy tomato soup is simple and homey, and if it doesn’t bring up good childhood memories hopefully it will create warm fuzzy new ones.
This year I planted climbing beans next to the tomatoes so the tomatoes would benefit from the nitrogen fixing wonders of the leggy legumes, and they completely merged and intermingled on the trellis. You can see at the top of the photo a green bean ready to be munched.
The variety of tomato will affect the flavor of the soup, as will using canned vs. freshly roasted or simmered tomatoes. I tend to use what is around me and this year I grew Speckled Roman, its rich sweet flavor mixed with the meatiness of a paste tomato produced a great soup.
Mixing milk or cream into tomatoes can result in curdling, and a little baking soda helps reduce the acidity and keep the creaminess without the cottage cheese. The acidity of tomatoes has changed over the years, my understanding is that older varieties are more acidic than the modern tomatoes. The amount of baking soda needed may depend on the acidity of the tomatoes.
Many people also add a little honey or sugar to tomato sauces or soups to take the edge off the acidic flavor.
This beautiful wood fired bowl is from artist Shumpei Yamaki. Originally from Kamakura, Japan he now lives near West Branch, Iowa and teaches at Scattergood Friends School and Farm, where he recently built a wood fired kiln. I couldn’t stop taking photos of the bowl, such elegant simplicity. Here and here are more images of his work.
Homestyle Tomato Soup
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes to precook tomatoes, 40 minutes for the soup
If using fresh tomatoes, chop and simmer or roast in the oven until cooked:
3-4 cups Tomatoes
Heat in a medium-sized heavy soup pot:
1-2 teaspoons Oil of your choice
1 small Onion, chopped
2-3 stalks Celery, chopped
Sauté approximately 5 minutes, then add:
3 cups cooked Tomatoes (freshly roasted or simmered, or one 28 oz. can)
1 cup Water, Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock
Simmer around 30 minutes, until the veggies are soft.
Puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor.
If needed, transfer the soup back to the pot, reheat on low and add:
3/4 – 1 teaspoon Sea Salt (to taste—canned tomatoes sometimes have salt already added)
1/8 teaspoon Baking Soda (to reduce the acidity and prevent the milk from curdling)
Black Pepper to taste
Optional—a dash of honey or sugar
Turn off the heat.
1/2 cup Milk
1/4 cup Cream (optional, but yummy)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, chopped
Other directions it could go:
- Fresh Thyme
- Fresh Basil
- Dash of Sugar or Honey
- Bay Leaf (remove before eating)