As our beautiful summer nights begin to get shorter and the temperatures start to crisp up, it turns my culinary thoughts towards soup. Honestly, this is my favorite time of the year, a time when the mornings are cool, the afternoons are perfectly warm and inviting and the evenings bring a refreshing chill with them. And a bowl of good warm soup is a perfect complement when the sun drops low on the horizon and the hunger from a hard day of playing starts to set in.
One of my all-time favorite soups is a straight forward simple tomato soup. Great for when the chill hits you, or when the kids come running home after getting soaked in an unexpected rain storm, it is the go to soup for me and my family. Pair it with some crackers, crusty bread or the iconic grilled cheese sandwich; however you choose to enjoy your tomato soup, I hope you’ll love this little recipe as much as I do.
As with any soup – it is the love that you put in to it that shines when it is time to eat. I like to make my own vegetable stock with the trimmings from the ingredients of the soup. I think this makes a much more well-balanced and flavorful soup. Just save all of the onion peels, carrot tips and peels, tomato tops and bottoms and put them in a pot with some cut celery (4 stalks), dried thyme leaves (1T), whole peppercorns (1t), and a couple bay leaves (2-3). Bring everything to a boil and let it reduce by half. This will end up being the body of your soup.
1ea yellow onion
8oz tomato paste
1oz fresh basil
1can coconut milk
6C vegetable stock
To begin, top and half the tomatoes, spread them out on the sheet tray season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. While they are roasting, dice the onion and carrots and begin to sweat them on the stove in an 8QT sauce pan over low to medium heat, using a little olive oil. As the onions become translucent and carrots begin to soften, add the tomato paste and continue cooking over low to medium heat until the tomato paste begins to caramelize. You will know that it is beginning to caramelize because the color will start to darken. It is now time to add your home made vegetable stock (you can substitute vegetable or chicken from the store, I just recommend the low sodium varieties). Be sure to strain your stock as you pour it over the soup base. Let your soup simmer for 30 minutes over low heat so that the vegetables have a chance to break down further. Once the carrots are soft, it is time to add the can of coconut milk, the basil and puree your soup.
I like to use a stick mixer when making soups because it cuts down on dishes in the sink, but if you do not have a stick mixer, you can use a blender. Just be sure to let the soup cool down a little before blending, otherwise it will build up pressure with the heat and go everywhere, all over the kitchen. Once blended, all you have left to do is season the soup to your liking. I like to use kosher salt and white pepper in tomato soup because it doesn’t build up as much peppery heat and it doesn’t have the speckled look when it’s finished. The thing to remember with white pepper is that it usually comes out really fast, so be gentle – a little goes a long way.
You are finished, time to enjoy.