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comfort essentials: fresh garden tomato soup

a recipe by
Andy Anderson !
Wichita, KS

I have a bumper crop of fresh tomatoes… Looks like about 100+ beauties, slowly ripening in the sun. Mm Mm Mm. The majority I am blanching, coring, deseeding, and freezing for the cold months ahead; however, last night I took some and experimented with a new tomato soup recipe. It was a total hit and will be made again. I am just glad that I took notes as I threw in the spices and stuff. So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

serves Several
prep time 4 Hr
cook time 1 Hr 20 Min
method Stove Top

Ingredients For comfort essentials: fresh garden tomato soup

  • 2 - 3 slice
    bacon, diced
  • 1 md
    yellow onion, grated
  • 2 - 4 clove
    garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp
    sweet butter, unsalted
  • 3 Tbsp
    flour, all-purpose variety
  • 2 c
    chicken stock, not broth
  • 4 lb
    tomatoes, fresh garden variety
  • 1 tsp
    dried basil
  • 1 tsp
    fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp
    smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp
    dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp
    dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp
    dried sage
  • celery salt, to taste
  • white pepper, freshly ground, to taste
  • sugar, granulated variety, more on this later
  • 1 c
    whole milk, half & half, or cream

How To Make comfort essentials: fresh garden tomato soup

  • 1
  • 2
    The Tomatoes As you know, there are all kinds of tomatoes; heirloom, plum, beefsteak, to name a few, and each type of tomato will bring its own unique flavor notes to this recipe. When I am talking fresh tomatoes, I am not referring to the tomatoes you get at the grocer… not even the “hot house” variety. If you do not grow you own, check out one of your local farmer’s markets. If you cannot get fresh tomatoes, then my second choice would be good canned ones.
  • 3
    After you blanch, skin, core, and de-seed the tomatoes, you should be left with 2.5 – 3 pounds (1 – 1.4kg) of yummy tomato goodness.
  • 4
    The Sugar Tomatoes can be a funny thing to work with… Some can be sweet; others a bit on the bitter side. The sugar I have in the ingredients list should only be used in the final simmering of the soup. If it is a bit bitter, add some sugar, about a 1/4 teaspoon at a time, until you like what you taste. If it tastes fine, then leave it out.
  • 5
    The Celery Salt Celery salt is salt that, for lack of a better phrase is, salt that taste like celery. You want to add it in small quantities during the final simmer. It really gives the soup a distinctive taste.
  • 6
    Freezing the Tomato Puree Once you pulse the tomato flesh, you can freeze it before or after adding the dry spices. If properly sealed, it will last 6 – 8 months. I like to use freezer bags adding 1 pound (455g) to each bag (the quart size bags are perfect for this). Then, as the days get shorter, the nights get longer, and the temps begin to drop, any time I crave a recipe that calls for fresh tomatoes… I have them available.
  • 7
    Gather your ingredients (mise en place).
  • 8
  • 9
    Cut a large “X” in the bottom of the tomatoes.
  • 10
    Plunge into boiling water, for about 60 – 90 seconds.
  • 11
    Remove from the boiling water and plunge into ice water.
  • 12
    After they cool, remove the skins; they should slip right off. With the skins off, remove the core.
  • 13
    Cut in half and remove the seeds. I just use my fingers.
  • 14
    Leaving the seeds in will make the soup taste bitter.
  • 15
    Add the tomato flesh to a food processor fitted with an S-blade.
  • 16
    Use 1-second bursts to break down the tomatoes.
  • 17
    I do not try to puree the tomatoes; I like to leave some tomato bits.
  • 18
    Add them to a bowl, and then throw in Dry Spices #1.
  • 19
    Mix until combined, then cover and place into the fridge 4 – 5 hours, or overnight.
  • 20
    This is going to help to infuse the spices into the tomatoes.
  • 21
  • 22
    Add the bacon to a soup pan, or heavy-bottom pot, like a Dutch oven, and set the heat to medium low
  • 23
    Slowly cook until the bacon crisps and renders its fat.
  • 24
    Remove the bacon, and reserve for another recipe, or use them as a garnish on this one. Or, just eat them as a chef's treat.
  • 25
    Add the onions, and cook until softened, about 3 – 4 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for an additional 60 seconds.
  • 26
    Add the butter, and stir into the onions until it melts, then add the flour, and mix until combined with the onions and garlic, about 2 – 3 minutes.
  • 27
    Add the chicken stock, and whisk until combined, then simmer and whisk until the stock begins to thicken, about 3 – 5 minutes. Make sure there are no lumps.
  • 28
    Add the tomatoes, stir to combine, and allow to slowly simmer for an hour.
  • 29
    While the soup is simmering, taste for proper seasoning by adding Dry Seasonings #2.
  • 30
    I find I like to add a bit more of of the original dry seasonings. Not all of them… maybe some more cumin, a bit more dill. You get the idea. Good chefs taste as they cook.
  • 31
    Adding the Milk, Half & Half, or Cream At the very end of the simmering process, you have a big decision to make. Do you want to add the dairy? In truth, it tastes great with or without; however, I really do like what it does to the recipe. If you are using the dairy, just add it in, stir to combine, then allow to heat back up and serve.
  • 32
  • So yummy
    Serve while nice and hot with some toasted crostini’s, croutons, maybe a dollop of sour cream, and how about a nice grilled cheese sandwich. Enjoy.
  • Stud Muffin
    Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

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