Heirloom Tomato Soup

>> Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Heirloom Tomato Soup
A few weeks ago, my friend and master chef Talea gave us a pot of tangy, rich tomato soup using the heirloom tomatoes from her garden. The varieties she grew this year have some unusual shapes and colors. One had burgundy stripes and greenish flesh, one has a wavy surface, and one is a brilliant yellow color. The taste is extraordinary.

If you can't find heirloom tomatoes, try to find deeply colored tomatoes that are soft and juicy and give off a tomatoey smell. Many of the big grocery stores buy tomatoes that were picked while still green and then sprayed with a substance that turns them red and prevents them from ripening further, so that they can be shipped anywhere. These tomatoes are flavorless wooden balls that just won't do the recipe justice.

If you grow your own tomatoes, now is the time to collect those last few fall-ripened beauties and whip up a big pot of soup. Is there anything more satisfying on a chilly fall day?

Talea rattled off her recipe to me several times, and I think I've finally captured it here. It is so good.


3 pounds of ripe heirloom tomatoes (or other very ripe fresh tomatoes)
6 cloves of garlic
2 cups sliced yellow onion
1/3 cup olive oil
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp thyme
1 bay leaf
2/3 cup fat-free cream
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut the stem end out of the tomatoes and cut them in half. Place the tomatoes cut-side down on a baking sheet. Place the garlic and onions on the roasting sheet and drizzle them with the olive oil. Roast under the broiler until tender and browned, turning occasionally - about 30 to 45 minutes.

Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins. Place 1/4 of the vegetables, basil, thyme, and tomatoes in a blender or food processor, along with 1 cup of broth. Puree until smooth. Pour the puree into a soup pot, and repeat with the remaining batches of  tomatoes, broth, basil, thyme, and vegetables. Drop the bay leaf into the pot.

Bring the soup to a boil; reduce the heat and let it simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, until it is thickened and reduced. Don't forget to stir it occasionally. Stir in the cream, salt and pepper and heat through without boiling the soup. Take out the bay leaf before serving.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Note: This tastes really good with a couple slices of honey whole wheat bread. You can find that recipe here: Honey Whole Wheat Bread.


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