Monday, 22 February 2016

Cream of Tomato Soup

If you made Canned Tomato Sauce last summer, you already have the soup base you need to make cream of tomato soup in about 10 minutes. I guess that's twice as long as it takes to open and heat a can, but I am full of ambition. (*snork, snork*) 

Only I bet you didn't make canned tomato sauce last summer, in which case you will need to make it now. I left out the vinegar/sugar, since it's not being canned, and added a little celery and bay leaf. Pretty close, though. And yeah, we ate it with grilled cheese. Why not?

By crushed tomatoes I mean tomatoes, canned. They should be fairly liquid, if you are buying them. (I've seen cans of crushed tomatoes that are more like sauce. Canned whole or chopped tomatoes would work fine too; just chop them up a bit before you start simmering if you are using whole ones.)

4 to 6 servings
1 hour to make the base - 15 minutes prep time
15 minutes prep time to make the soup

Make the Base:
1 medium onion
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
1 medium sweet red pepper
1 medium carrot
a stalk of celery
OR a slice of peeled celeriac, chopped
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
4 cups crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf (optional)

Peel and chop the onion coarsely. Peel and slice the garlic cloves in half. Core and chop the pepper coarsely. Peel and slice the carrot. Peel and chop the celeriac slice, if using, or wash, trim, and chop the celery.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the vegetables in it for several minutes, until softened and slightly browned in spots. Add the tomatoes and bay leaf, stir well, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until the carrot slices are tender. Add a little water if it seems like too much liquid is evaporating.

Let the soup base cool a little, remove the bay leaf, then purée it thoroughly in a food processor or blender. Keep in the fridge until ready to make soup; the base should keep for at least a week if kept in a clean, well-sealed container.You should get about 4 cups of base.

Make the Soup:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 teaspoons (1 1/3 tablespoons) flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk or light cream
2 cups prepared soup base
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook the butter, flour, and salt together over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Slowly stir in the milk or cream a little at a time, mixing really well to keep a smooth, lump-free paste. Once all the milk is in, let the cream sauce (that's what this is) thicken for a minute or two; stir regularly. Then add the soup base, season with pepper, and stir to blend it thoroughly. Let the soup heat though, stirring regularly, but don't let it simmer.

Last year at this time I made Eggs in Purgatory.

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