Roasted tomato soup

My final tomato harvest was so disappointing. There were dozens that looked beautiful till I picked them up and found they’d been feasted on by worms or gophers or any number of other creepy opportunists. Only about 4 pounds ended up in my bucket, not enough for another batch of salsa or chili. So they went into the oven for roasting and I decided to make tomato soup out of them.

After searching for recipes I finally just winged it. A quick sauté of chopped onion, then the addition of the tomatoes and some homemade chicken stock, a generous amount of  cream to balance, and we had some awesome soup. Accompanied by grilled cheese sandwiches on homemade sourdough, it was a satisfying and filling supper to share with our hunting friends on a cold, blustery day.

Start by halving roma tomatoes, or slicing other types into 1/2 inch thick slices. Put them cut-side up on a sheet pan, sprinkle with chopped or dried herbs of your choice (basil or rosemary are my favorites), drizzle generously with olive oil. Roast in a 375°F oven for about 40 minutes, turn oven up to 400°F for another 20 minutes, then turn oven off and let them sit for 10 minutes. Then you can let them cool completely and refrigerate for a day or two in a tightly covered container (be sure to include all of the oil and juices), or use them immediately. When you make the soup, use some of the semi-solid oil from the tomatoes to sauté the onions. A hand-held blender stick makes quick work of blending the tomatoes and onions right in the pot after you add stock. Use a blender or food processor and blend in batches if you don’t have a hand-held. Then toss it back into the pot and add the cream and baking soda. Baking soda? What?!

The first time I made this, it was delicious and my husband ate a big bowlful. The acidity of the tomatoes caught up with him later so I did some research – good to have friends who cook! – and confirmed that adding a tiny bit of baking soda will neutralize that acid. So this time around it’s in there, dialing down the acidity without being noticeable. Be sure to use a pot big enough to contain the foaming that occurs when baking soda is added.  It will subside quickly but can be a surprise if you’re not ready for it.

– Joan, 3 November 2017

Roasted tomato soup

  • 3-4 pounds fresh tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • medium onion, chopped
  • fresh or dried herbs, such as basil, rosemary or chives
  • generous tablespoon or more of Garden Gourmet basil paste
  • 2 tablespoons roasted garlic, or 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup half and half or cream
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cut roma tomatoes in half, or cut slicing tomatoes into 1/2″ thick slices. Place cut-side up on a baking sheet, sprinkle with fresh or dried herbs of your choice, drizzle with olive oil. Bake about 40 minutes, turn oven up to 400°F for another 20 minutes. Turn off oven and let the pan sit in it for another 10 minutes. Use immediately or cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Be sure to save the oil and any juices too.

Pick a pot that will hold about 10-12 cups. Using some of the olive oil from the roasted tomatoes, sauté onions until golden and translucent. Add the tomatoes and any accumulated juices and oil to the pot, along with the stock, garlic, and additional herbs* if desired. Use a stick blender to blend in the pot, or blend in batches in a blender or food processor. Return mixture to the pot, add cream and baking soda. Stir down the foam that comes up when soda is added and heat to a low simmer. Salt and pepper to taste and serve with grilled sandwiches.IMG_2911

*Garden Gourmet herbs are handy to keep in the fridge for those times when fresh herbs are unavailable and dried just won’t cut it. Look for it in the refrigerated produce section of your grocery store.

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