One of my goals this summer was to make tomato soup from scratch… and by scratch I mean whole tomatoes, not canned. Tomato soup made from fresh tomatoes is a completely different beast from soup made from canned tomatoes, neither being inferior to the other. I love each for their own attributes but had never made one from scratch and was quite determined to do so.
Despite the fact that this recipe requires pounds of fresh vegetables that are cut, diced and shredded prior to cooking, it was actually very quick and easy to assemble. I didn’t feel like going out to buy a pint of cream so I decided to use a little trick that I learned in the food service biz for making soups taste “creamy” without using cream (we used this trick in a fresh green gazpacho). The secret is bread crumbs. A small amount of bread crumbs are boiled into the soup to add thickness and a surprisingly creamy flavor. I was so surprised at the creamy, buttery flavor when I tasted the soup that I demanded to know who snuck butter into the broth… but then I remembered that I was the only one home and it must have been the bread crumbs. Amazing.
I worked off of this recipe by Emeril Lagasse and, of course, made a few alterations.
If you’re not into fresh tomato soup, stay tuned. I’m sure to whip up a batch made from canned tomatoes some time soon.
Garden Tomato Soup
- 1 med. onion $0.42
- 3 stalks celery $0.37
- 2 medium carrots $0.25
- 3 cloves garlic $0.12
- ¼ cup olive oil $0.42
- 4 lb.s (about 5 medium) ripe tomatoes $3.41
- 2 tsp chicken base (or 2 cups stock) $0.20
- ¼ cup plain bread crumbs $0.09
- ½ Tbsp brown sugar $0.02
- 1.5 tsp (or to taste) salt $0.05
- ½ cup loose packed fresh basil $0.50
- 1 tsp worchestershire sauce $0.05
- to taste fresh ground pepper $0.05
- Finely dice the onion, celery and garlic. Wash and shred the carrots (use a large cheese shredder). Cook all four in a large pot with ¼ cup olive oil over medium heat until softened (about 10 minutes).
- Wash and dice the tomatoes. Add them to the cooked down vegetables and cook the mixture until the tomatoes are soft and begin to fall apart (about 10 minutes).
- Add the chicken base and one cup of water (or just two cups broth) along with the rest of the ingredients: bread crumbs, salt, pepper, brown sugar, worchestershire sauce and chopped basil. Continue to cook for 10 more minutes.
- Working in batches, puree the mixture in a blender until smooth. Be very careful; hot liquids in a blender can be very dangerous!
Eat the soup hot with a big slice of nice crusty bread – yummmmm!
Step By Step Photos
Dice the onion, garlic and celery as small as possible and shred the carrots. Small pieces = faster cooking time. Cook the vegetables in a large pot with 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat until they have softened.
After about ten minutes, they will all be soft (and super fragrant).
Wash and dice the tomatoes, add them to the pot and continue to cook until soft. The tomatoes do not need to be cut as small because their high water content help them break down quickly.
After the tomatoes have cooked down and released their juices, add the chicken base, one cup of water and the bread crumbs.
Chop about a half cup of fresh basil leaves and add them to the pot.
Add the rest of the seasonings (salt, pepper, worchestershire and brown sugar) and continue to cook for about 10 minutes. Puree the soup in batches until it is smooth and creamy.
NOTE: Usually you have to buy carrots and celery in a bag or bunch but only need to use a few of each. I hate watching the rest get all rubbery in the fridge then eventually go to waste. I love soup and will most likely make soup again soon so I decided to prep the rest of my carrots and celery (prep = wash and chop), pack them into freezer bags and freeze them for later. Many soups use celery and carrots as the base for the broth so I know these will get put to good use!