Garden Fresh: Roasted Tomato Soup
September 20, 2013
The origins of this recipe come from my first year of vegetable gardening. It was tomato season, and being new to growing my own food, I suddenly found myself with 20 plants worth of ripe tomatoes to process all at once. Those of you who regularly plant vegetable gardens know that 20 tomato plants means a whole lot of tomatoes, but I didn't. Not back then. And I wasn't prepared for it.
So to deal with the harvest, I canned (this was back before I had a freezer) as many tomatoes as I could tolerate, and found recipes for the rest. One of those recipes was for roasted tomato soup with Parmesan wafers (I skipped the wafers), which was a big hit. I made batches and batches of the stuff, and slowly but surely used up all of my tomatoes with minimal waste.
Over the years, I've continued to make roasted tomato soup during tomato season to help deal with the harvest. It's one of the foods I dream about every year when I'm planting my tomato plants. And now that we have a chest freezer, I'm taking advantage of it by freezing as many gallon-sized bags of this soup as I can so we can continue to eat it throughout the winter.
I should mention, I don't follow the recipe anymore like I used to. For instance, because the tomatoes are so fresh and flavorful, I use very little cream, if any, and only as a garnish. I'll also occasionally throw in a bell pepper or two to the roasting pan alongside the tomatoes, or some herbs and spices if I want to change things up. It's a very customizable soup!
Roasted Tomato Soup
3lbs (8-10 medium sized) tomatoes, rinsed and sliced in half
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly sliced
5-6 cloves garlic, left in skins, with rough ends sliced off
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chicken stock or water
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heavy whipping cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange 3lbs tomatoes (or as many will fit), cut side up, on your cookie sheet in a single layer. Between the tomatoes, place your onion and garlic. Drizzle evenly with the olive oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Place on center baking rack for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the edges of your onions have browned and your tomatoes have deflated. You don't want to go too much longer than that or the juices will evaporate and your cloves of garlic will burn.
Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes. Remove the garlic cloves from their skin and place in a large soup pot. Add the rest of the contents of the cookie sheet, juices and all, into the pot along with the garlic, and then add your two cups of stock or water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if needed. To serve, strain the puree using a fine mesh sieve directly into your serving bowls, and garnish with a splash of heavy whipping cream.
To freeze, strain the soup using the sieve into a large bowl or saucepan, and allow the soup to cool. Once it's at room temperature, pour the soup into a freezer-safe container. Best if eaten within 2-3 months.
-Add a bell pepper or two, seeded and sliced in half, to the cookie sheet for roasted tomato soup with bell peppers.
-Add herbs like thyme, rosemary, or basil to the simmering pot for additional flavor.