This post includes a recipe from Barb Haigwood, cofounder of Real Life Consulting, LLC.
As autumn slides into view, we are enjoying the last of summer’s fresh fruit and vegetables. Regardless of predictions for this winter’s weather, anyone who eats locally and seasonally may want to shift her kitchen into high gear now to stock up—literally!—on soups made from brightly colored tomatoes and peppers. It’ll be many moons before we see these again, whether they come from our own garden or we buy them at local farmers markets.
Here are a couple of soup recipes that we enjoy as well as a different way to preserve tomatoes. These offer an alternative to canning, are great to freeze and inspire a deep reverence for the sun—and for chlorophyll—when thawed and heated on a winter’s day for lunch or supper. Leigh’s soup, the first one, requires a large sauce pan and hand-held wand for pureeing the soup. It could also be made the way Barb makes her soups—in a Vitamix.
Golden Tomato Soup
Adapted from Katherine Ostrowski-Morris’s Golden Heirloom Or Your Favorite Tomato Soup (Katherine and husband Bill Morris farm in Shady Side, Md., and sell their produce at the Anne Arundel County Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.)
13-15 medium-large yellow/orange tomatoes
2-3 medium-large yellow onions
Several cloves of garlic (I use at least four to six)
Extra virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper
1½ to 2 quarts of stock (I use chicken or a combo of homemade chicken and beef stock, depending on what I have on-hand)
Sour cream (optional)
Chop the onions and place in large saucepan. Finely chop the tomatoes and set aside (I place the fruits and all the juice in a two-quart glass bowl until I’m ready to use them). Peel and press the garlic cloves. If using fresh basil, wash and shred the leaves into smaller pieces.
Add some butter and olive oil to the onions, stirring occasionally and cooking until translucent. Next, add the garlic, three soup-spoons of the paste and the culinary herbs and black pepper. Unless an herb is super-strong-tasting, I tend just to put the herb in, adding more later if the soup seems to need more. (I love basil, marjoram and black pepper, so I don’t skimp on these.) Stir until everything is well incorporated.
Next, add the tomatoes and all the juices. Again, stir to incorporate everything. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes before adding the stock. How much stock depends on the consistency you want—more for thinner, less for thicker. Allow all of this to simmer for about 20 minutes. Next, add salt to taste and using a hand-held cooking wand, puree the soup. Taste, and add more salt if needed.
When ready to serve, swirl in a spoon of sour cream.
Barb’s Alternative to Canning Tomatoes
If you are not in the mood for canning or don’t have time, this is a good way to preserve tomatoes. I took extra tomatoes, cut off the bad spots, but left on the skin, and gently squeezed them to take out some of the liquid, which I saved for vegetable soup. I then put the tomatoes into the Vitamix and ran it on high until the tomatoes were completely smooth. I placed the tomatoes into a pot and cooked them down to the consistency I wanted—about two hours. I then put this in the refrigerator until the next day to cool, then transferred to quart-sized containers to freeze. This can be used as the base for anything that needs tomato puree.
One quart of tomato puree
1 cup chicken or turkey broth
1 onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
Fat of your choice, such as lard
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour (required, if you want a thick soup)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of sucanat or honey
Fresh basil, finely chopped, or shredded, if you prefer
Thaw the tomato puree and warm together with the stock. Add to the Vitamix. Sautee onions and celery in fat (I use lard) until tender, then melt the butter into the onion and celery. Add the flour, if desired, and stir until blended. Add this to the Vitamix. Add salt and pepper to taste and one tablespoon of sucanat or honey. Blend all of this in the Vitamix on high until hot.
This soup may be added to a bowl of cooked rice or rice pasta. Finish with basil and sour cream.