There's something incredibly satisfying about making a pot of soup from scratch and bypassing the canned soup section at your local grocery store. JBug's Kitchen has produced several versions of tomato soup during the past 3 years and they've had their similarities and their differences.
The one thing they all have in common is roasted tomatoes. Roasting the tomatoes before they go into the soup really intensifies their flavor. Our first effort adapted from Idaho a la Carte required only 20 minutes of roasting time and included garlic, Italian herbs like basil, oregano and an extra flavor boost of tomato paste along with some red wine and chicken stock. The soup was finished with ricotta cheese and heavy cream along with a garnish of garlicky spinach pesto. It's awesome, rich in flavor, silky on the tongue and definitely a perfect red/green first course at a special Holiday dinner party.
Our second version of roasted tomato soup was adapted from a recipe by the Neely's of Foodnetwork fame. The tomatoes roasted for an entire hour before they were pureed and joined by shallots sauteed in butter along with tomato paste, chicken stock and lots of cayenne pepper as well as dried basil and Italian seasoning.
Finished with a cup of cream, the result is a little more like the canned version we all know and love but with a bit of a kick to it's creamy smooth lusciousness.
Last night's recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen (sans the broiled cheddar) and is relatively pure and very simple to make with limited ingredients. Garlic is roasted in a foil pouch along with halved tomatoes before they're all pulsed in a processor to a chunky puree. Combined with chicken stock, seasoned with thyme, salt, coarse ground black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes, the simple ingredients are simmered for 30 minutes to reduce the liquid and intensify flavors.
It is simple wholesome goodness that requires perfectly ripe Roma (Plum) tomatoes to be successful so be sure to plan ahead so the 3 pounds you'll need have a chance to ripen on the counter before you make the soup.
Bet you're wondering what we thought about it aren't you? Big Guy enjoyed it very much and liked the chunky texture and spicy heat from the red pepper flakes. I, on the other hand, quite missed the creaminess so garnished our portions with a touch of mascarpone cheese and I even ended up going back for a smidge of sour cream because I might possibly have added a few too many pepper flakes to the mix. Uhh ya' it was spicy.
All said, I'm not sure which version I prefer but I'll tell ya' one thing...every one of them's incredibly easy to make and well worth the effort so next time you're tempted to open a can of Campbell's think twice and try making your own soup. Believe me, you won't be disappointed.
Roasted Tomato Soup (from JBug’s Kitchen, adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
3 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and black pepper
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
4 cups chicken stock
Preheat oven to 400. Arrange tomatoes cut side up on a sheet pan and season well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with olive oil. Wrap unpeeled garlic cloves into foil and place on pan with tomatoes. Roast for 1 hour until tomatoes are brown.
Remove from oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Squeeze roasted garlic into a food processor and add tomatoes and their juices. Pulse to chop until chunky. Do not over-process.
Move to a medium sized pot and add thyme, red pepper flakes and chicken stock. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until soup is the texture you prefer. Ladle into bowls and garnish as you wish. Makes 4 servings.
A year ago - Roquefort Stuffed Pork Chops with Braised Apples
Two year's ago - Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup