Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Fresh Tomato Soup

Everyone knows I like to can so I seem to be the recipient of lots of tomatoes and cucumbers despite the fact that I already have a bunch of both.

A couple of weeks ago, my sister and I visited my mom. She had just picked about 72 tomatoes from her garden so of course, she sent some home with us. A friend also gave me some tomatoes. I had already picked tomatoes from my garden and canned a bunch of salsa and made marinara so I wanted to do something different with these tomatoes.  They were getting really ripe really fast. 

So I set out to make some fresh tomato soup. I've been wanting to make homemade tomato soup for awhile. The funny thing is, I don't really like tomatoes (by themselves, that is), but I love tomato soup.

About the same time I decided to make the soup, we were scheduled to bake Four-Leaf Clover Brocolli & Cheddar Buns for the HBinFive Baking Group.  Tomato Soup and Brocolli & Cheddar Buns seemed like the perfect match.

I found the perfect country-style recipe in one of my canning cookbooks.  This tomato soup should be refrigerated or frozen, not canned for storage.

Fresh Tomato Soup
My soup is adapted from this recipe in the The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard.
Makes: 8 cups

1/4 cup olive oil
2 large onions, sliced crosswise (about 2 cups/500 mL)
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1-2 celery stalks, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 strips fresh orange zest
8 cups chopped peeled ripe tomatoes (about 4 lbs/2 kg)
1 cup chicken broth (or more if needed)
1 tbsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp (5 mL) dried (I also added some basil.)
1 bay leaf
1-2 tsp granulated sugar (or more if needed)
1/2 - 1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic and orange zest; cook for 8 minutes or until vegetables are softened.

Add tomatoes, broth, thyme, bay leaf, sugar, salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, or until tomatoes are cooked.

Discard bay leaf and allow to cool.  Transfer to blender or food processor and process until very smooth.

After I pureed the mixture, I tasted it and realized it was not to my liking. It was a little too acidic and the flavor was off a bit. So I added more chicken broth and seasoned it with more salt, sugar, garlic and some basil.  I finally got it to where I liked it.

I served some for dinner and ladled the rest into freezer containers.  You can refrigerate this soup for up to 5 days or freeze it for up to 6 months.  Defrost before reheating to serving temperature.  If the soup is thicker that you wish, stir in extra chicken stock or milk.

In addition to freezing several containers of soup, I also froze two containers of the HBinFive Brocolli and Cheddar dough.  I made the full batch so that I would have extra dough leftover.  So the next time we have this soup, we can also have some more of the buns.

I hope this dough freezes well.  I guess I'll find out.

Thanks for joining me in the bread-baking blog.  Remember soup goes really well with bread. 

When you're in the mood to bake (and eat) some bread, here are some bread-making resources:
You might enjoy some of the other breads that have been featured in the bread making blog.

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