Tomato soup is as American as apple pie. For me, it is winter days after playing in the snow; a quick lunch on the weekend; the first sign that I was getting over the flu; 30 minutes with my mom in the kitchen, sharing a can on a busy day. As I get older, the canned stuff has started to taste *really* weird to me, but my nostalgia for tomato soup has not changed. Enter: this roasted tomato soup. Bright red with a strong tomato and basil flavor and all the warmth of long roasting in a hot oven. It tastes like what it is, nothing more, and that is plenty.
P.S. Looking for a grilled cheese to go with your soup? Check back on Wednesday!
I adapted this soup recipe from one I already had for roasted tomato soup (sadly I can’t figure out where I got that one). The original recipe used fresh tomatoes, which tasted great but never really worked for me given that I always want tomato soup in the winter when tomatoes aren’t in season. I hold the opinion that in the winter, canned tomatoes are a better option than fresh because they are picked and canned when ripe in some far away locale (see my Vegetarian Tomato Sauce recipe for a more lengthy discussion on tomatoes). I didn’t see any reason why I couldn’t apply the same roasting technique to whole canned tomatoes. The texture is obviously different, but since it’s all getting pureed anyway, I thought I’d give it a try. I also added a roasted red bell pepper, primarily because I had it lying around, but also to give a bit of fresh flavor and to drive home the charred flavor. Even though the whole dish is pretty sour (with the tomatoes and vinegar), I like the brightness that the roasted lemon adds at the end. To try to balance the sourness, I included just a bit of sugar.
Final reminder: as mentioned in my tips and tricks, if you think your tomato soup tastes metallic, you probably need more salt!
Below, the recipe:
Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
- 56 oz canned whole peeled tomatoes, strained (reserve juice)
- 1 red bell pepper, cored
- 2 medium yellow onions, quartered
- 12 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups lightly packed fresh basil
- 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 3 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 500 deg F
- Roughly chop the canned tomatoes
In a large bowl, mix tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, onions, salt and pepper
Spread tomatoes in a non-reactive baking pan
Roast until very dark in spots, 35-40 min, and allow to cool
- In the meantime, toss bell pepper and lemon with a bit more olive oil, salt and pepper and spread on a baking sheet
- Roast in the oven until the pepper is blackened, about 20 min – this will generate a lot of smoke
- Cool, peel and roughly chop peppers. Reserve the lemon.
- In a pot over medium heat, combine reserved juice, roasted tomatoes, garlic, onions, and all juices, bell pepper, basil, bay leaf, sugar, and water and simmer 10 min
Remove bay leaf then puree with immersion blender
Squeeze in roasted lemon and season with salt and pepper to taste
This soup is really great and hits the spot. It hits you in the face with tomato and basil flavor and has a nice texture – not too smooth. You could add a bit of cream at the end if you want a closer replication of the canned stuff, but I wouldn’t as it will dampen the flavor. It only loses a star because it’s not that inventive.