When life hands you tomatoes, make tomato soup

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Dan Bolyard/courtesy photo Fresh soup is a great way to use up the tomatoes from your garden.

It doesn't seem like all that long ago our garden was doing its thing. But then as the temperatures changed and we had a chance of a frost, we decided to not pick any of the tomatoes. We figured the frost would not be that bad and we could get more time for the tomatoes to ripen outside. A week later we had picked all the tomatoes, as an even harder frost was in the works. As a result, we've had a few boxes of tomatoes in the house ripening. That means a lot of tomatoes have been ripening at the same time. How quickly can we use them up? Fresh tomato soup!

A few days ago I made up a batch of fresh tomato sauce for spaghetti, and mixed it in with some tomato pesto I have socked away in the fridge. I didn't take a picture of the results, but I can tell you a number of tomatoes were run through the food processor before cooking into a sauce. It was more like stirring the processed tomatoes into an already-cooked sauce, which gave the final product a very vibrant tomato flavor that you don't get with long-cooked tomatoes.


FRESH TOMATO SOUP

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions; peeled and chopped fine; about 5 cups
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 6 cups pureed fresh tomatoes
  • 3 1/2 cups beef stock, or bouillon cubes rehydrated according to package
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onions. Cook, stirring them often, to prevent sticking or burning. Cook 5 minutes or longer, until the onions have lost their raw smell. Do not brown. Add the garlic for the last minute of cooking. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring often, about 10 minutes, or until they have become a bit sauce like. Add the stock, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, basil, and parsley. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Run through a sieve to remove any tomato skins, if desired. Serve hot.


TOMATO BISQUE

  • 3 cups pureed fresh tomatoes, drained of their juices, reserving juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 shallot, peeled and quartered
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • About 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/8 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large shallow baking dish, combine the drained tomatoes, olive oil, brown sugar, carrots and shallots, salt and pepper. Place pan in the oven and roast until the veggies start to brown, about 30 minutes. In a large pot over medium heat, add the butter and heat until bubbling. Add the red pepper and garlic. Sauté until fragrant. Add the paste and cook for about a minute. Add the sherry and reserved tomato juice; cook until thickened. Add the roasted vegetables, crushed tomatoes and 1 cup chicken stock. Adjust seasonings and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Add cream and then blend in a blender, food processor or immersion blender until of a uniform texture. Add extra stock to bring to the consistency you prefer.

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