Our garden yielded a bounty of tomatoes last summer. My Ron made several batches of wonderful homemade spaghetti sauce that we froze for the winter. But there were still more tomatoes, so I decided to make soup. Cream of tomato was the plan, so I could use the cream left over from Thanksgiving.
There was just one problem.
None of the recipes I came across were for a cream soup. Most had a chicken stock base, and one was made from tomato juice, not fresh tomatoes. So I improvised, combining several recipes and adding my own twist.
Here’s what I came up with. The amounts aren’t exact, but soup is pretty forgiving. Adjust things to your taste, if you try it. I used my smaller, 10-litre stockpot. And I measured the seasonings in my hand.
- 1/3 cup butter
- I’m guessing… I just used what I thought was a big enough blob to saute the onions. Olive oil would work too.
- 8 medium onions, diced
- Some of the recipes I looked at also called for diced carrots and celery, which I’m sure would be good. I didn’t have any celery in the house and was too lazy to get carrots from the garden.
- 2 chili peppers, chopped fine
- You could use a bit of cayenne instead.
- 2 Scottish cloves (2 heads) of homegrown garlic, diced, smashed or pressed
- I just smashed the cloves in each head with a knife, but chop if you like, or use a garlic press. My homegrown garlic—Russian Red, this year—is super flavourful and aromatic. That’s great if you love garlic. Adjust quantity to taste.
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 12 cup diced fresh tomatoes
- Homegrown tomatoes are very juicy. You may need to add liquid if you use store-bought.
- salt and pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1½ litres whipping cream (33% butterfat)
- 1 box (150 g) Boursin Gournay cheese
- This is a flavour secret I learned from my friend Olesia T. A second box of Boursin wouldn’t have hurt, but I only had one—left over from Thanksgiving. It happened to be cranberry flavoured, which I thought might taste weird. It was fine! By the way, I had to look up the meaning of Gournay. It’s a soft, crumbly, spreadable cream cheese launched by cheesemaker Francois Boursin in 1963 and named for the small French town where he grew up.
- parsley (fresh or dried, however much you like)
- ½ cup rolled oats
- This is the magical secret ingredient I added at the last minute, when my soup was still too acidy for my taste. I could have added sugar or maple syrup, which some of my recipe references advised, but I resist adding sugar when I can. Oatmeal was listed in a French Canadian tomato soup recipe I looked at. It cut the acidity perfectly, and you couldn’t tell it was there.
- Dice tomatoes, onions and garlic (and celery and carrots, if you’re using them). My tomatoes were too ripe for neat dicing, so I just cut them into smallish pieces. Some recipes advised peeling the tomatoes and removing the seeds. That’s crazy, I think. Almost as crazy as peeling white mushrooms! After all, it’s a pureed soup!
- In your stockpot, saute the onions (celery and carrots too) in butter or oil until they’re almost soft. Add the garlic and saute some more, until everything is soft and just starting to carmelize.
- Stir in the spices and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes (with their juice), salt, pepper and bay leaf and simmer for a while. (30–45 minutes should do it.)
- Add the cream, Boursin, parsley and oatmeal. Simmer for another 20–30 minutes. Remove bay leaves.
- Puree the soup in a blender and serve. (I left my puree a bit chunky.)
- Sit back and watch it disappear!
The Rest of the Story
I made this soup one day when I had an evening commitment. The plan was for Ron to eat while he watch one of the dratted nightly-at-this-time-of-year hockey games, and for me to eat when I got home.
There was huge pot of soup on the stove when I left, and a scant bowl-and-a-half remaining when I came home. Ron had eaten the rest! And he doesn’t even like tomato soup, he admitted!
He definitely liked mine.