Fall has arrived, and the temperatures have begun their march down the thermometer. While I love the warm fall days, cool nights, and colors of fall, I dread the end of freshly harvested produce. With that thought in mind I walked to the neighboring farm last week. With a table full of recently picked tomatoes in my view, I purchased a few pounds for our dinner that night.
While the mid-afternoon sun was warm on my back during the walk home, there was no doubt that the evening would be much cooler. Having lived in New Hampshire for a good part of my life, I am well too familiar with the late afternoon chill that sneaks into the air. These tomatoes would be better enjoyed as a warm dish instead of a caprese salad.
I have made tomato soup only once before, and quite honestly, it was awful. The recipe used evaporated milk to provide the creaminess, and I thought it gave it a strange sort of taste. Returning home from my trip to the farm, I needed to find some ideas for making a creamy soup that wasn’t full of cream and had great flavor. Reviewing multiple recipes for techniques and ingredients, I created my own recipe, which I have to admit was quite nice.
To finish this soup, there are two alternatives: basil or brandy. Both ingredients round out the soup quite nicely. The basil adds an Italian flair, and the brandy gives the soup more of a gourmet taste.
- 3-1/2 lb. tomatoes
- 1 Tb. olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tb. sugar
- 1 Tb. butter, unsalted
- 1 Tb. flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tsp. dried basil or 2 Tb. brandy
- salt & pepper
- Heat a medium sized pot of water to boiling over high heat. Add 1 tomato at a time, flipping after 15 seconds. Remove from pot, and quickly remove skin.
- Repeat process until all tomatoes have been peeled. Chop tomatoes, and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and saute for 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, and saute for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and sugar, and reduce heat to low.
- While tomato mixture simmers, melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Once melted, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, to form a roux. Add milk slowly, constantly whisking. Continue to heat until the sauce thickens.
- Add broth, and mix well to combine. Incorporate tomato mixture into combined liquids. Using an immersion blender or regular blend, puree soup.
- (If you are using a regular blender, you need to work in small batches, as the soup is hot.)
- Return blended soup to the pot, and season with basil or brandy, salt, and pepper.