As I contemplate a summer with minimal air conditioning, this week's cool weather has been a delightful opportunity to get some "warm" cooking in. Turning on the oven doesn't affect the temperature of the house of hours, and cooking stovetop doesn't result in extra sweating. There may not be too many of these days left, so I've been making the most of it.
Yesterday was particularly cool and rainy, and just cried out for tomato soup. I reached for a recipe I've never tried before (but heard good things about) and was pleased to see I had most of the ingredients on hand. Living 20 + minutes from a grocery store these days is making me appreciate recipes that can be prepared from my well (over?) stocked pantry more and more.
I did make a few changes. I used spring onions from our farm share as I didn't have any leeks. And I made a half recipe as I only had 1 can of whole tomatoes in the pantry. We got two adult servings, and two boy sized servings from the recipe. It made a nice lunch when paired with a sandwich and a small salad with farm fresh mesclun greens.
Overall, I really enjoyed this soup. I liked the ease of the preparation, as well as the creamy taste minus a ton of cream. I think my tomatoes could have roasted longer, I pulled them at 35 minutes because I needed to finish the soup. I think they were not quite caramelized enough, but the resulting soup was still very enjoyable. While it doesn't compare to a tomato soup made from fresh tomatoes, it was one of the better recipes utilizing canned tomatoes that I've tried.
And, while I didn't get a perfect food blogger shot of the soup, I did get a picture of my boy shortly after tucking into a bowl of the soup. I suppose that'll have to do.... :)
Creamy Tomato Soup
A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop
2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes
1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts, halved lengthwise, washed, and sliced crosswise into thin strips
1 tablespoon double-strength tomato paste (the kind in the tube)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable broth
1. Move an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.
2. Drain the tomatoes in a strainer set in a bowl to collect the juices. With your fingers, carefully open the tomatoes, one at a time, letting the juices and seeds drop into the strainer. Place the seeded tomatoes on the foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and roast until the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes are just beginning to color, about 20 minutes. Discard the seeds in the strainer and reserve the juice in the bowl. You should have about 2.5 cups strained tomato juice.
3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add the leeks and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the leeks have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and nutmeg and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Whisking constantly, add the vegetable broth until the mixture is smooth (without lumps of flour). Add the reserved tomato juice and roasted tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer to blend the flavors, about 10 minutes.
4. Puree the soup in batches until perfectly smooth. Return the soup to a clean saucepan and adjust the seasonings, adding salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Warm and serve, or refrigerate in an airtight container for several days and then warm over low heat before serving.