Monday, September 6, 2010

Homemade Fresh Tomato Soup

Tomato soup made from fresh garden tomatoes and sweet Vidalia onions. It's a light meal even on a hot summer day.

Fresh Tomato Soup

I threw this Homemade Fresh Tomato Soup together recently and was just thrilled with the results. I'm not one to knock the red and white can of Campbell's tomato soup, because that is what I grew up on and have fond memories of - and it'll always have a place in my pantry. This homemade version is sure a nice change of pace when you want something a little more homemade however, and the flavor is just outstanding because it comes from fresh tomatoes.

When I talk about large tomatoes here in the ingredient list, I'm talking about the huge, heavy tomatoes of summer, one of which will literally spill over in the palm of your hand. If the tomatoes you are using are much smaller, you'll have to double or even triple them. You can also leave the soup chunky if you prefer, but I pureed it using an immersion blender. If you don't have one of these kitchen tools, they are mighty handy, especially with hot soups and sauces, but you can also very carefully transfer the soup to a food processor or blender in batches to puree it. Add a nice sandwich, like this pepperoni grilled cheese, and you have one fine meal right here!

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Recipe: Homemade Fresh Tomato Soup

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 30 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 6 extra large tomatoes, peeled and chopped (or substitute 2 large (28 ounce) canned Italian style, San Marzano whole tomatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 cup of chopped Vidalia, sweet or yellow onion
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 10 turns of the pepper grinder
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Heavy cream, to garnish
  • Shredded cheese, to garnish
  • Chopped fresh basil, to garnish

Remove the skins of the tomatoes and chop, reserving any juices. Heat olive oil in a stock pot and add the onion and celery. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the tomato paste; cook and stir 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes with their juices, Rotel, chicken stock, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for at least 30 minutes, or longer. Use an immersion blender, food processor, or blender to puree, if desired. Add butter, stir until incorporated, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Garnish as desired.

Cream of Tomato Soup Variation: Add in 1/2 cup of heavy cream to soup pot, heat through, garnish and serve.

Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup: Substitute 2 medium red bell peppers for 1 of the large tomatoes. To roast, place peppers under the broiler on your oven, or place over an open flame, turning until blistered. Transfer to a zippered bag or set on a plate covered with a clean dish towel to steam for at least 5 minutes. Halve, peeling off the skins, discarding any seeds and membrane, slice and dice. May also combine one can of San Marzano's with a (12 ounce) jar of drained roasted red peppers, and a small jar of sun dried tomatoes for a great flavor boost.

Grilled Cheese Croutons: For a change, add your grilled cheese sandwich in your soup as croutons. Use a thick sliced bread, at least 1/2 inch thick. Prepare two sandwiches as usual, except use a sandwich press or panini maker to cook and press the sandwiches. Cook until browned, let rest for 5 minutes and cut into 1 inch cubes. Garnish each serving with the cubes.

Cook's Notes: This soup can also be made by substituting 2 large (28 ounce) canned Italian style, San Marzano whole tomatoes, when fresh aren't at peak, but do try to use fairly fresh cans, as older ones that have been sitting around the pantry for awhile tend to have a metallic taste to them. You can sometimes counter that taste by adding a bit of baking soda (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) to the soup, or try squeezing in a bit of fresh lemon juice. This is also a great place to use slow roasted tomatoes. For a more substantial meal, add in a package of refrigerated pasta, like tortellini, ravioli, tortelloni, or gnocchi.


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Posted by on September 06, 2010
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  1. I love that you used sugar and brown sugar at that. Many do not know that tomatoes love sugar. Cheddar is a nice touch!

  2. You know you're just feeding into one of my recent obsessions with this tomato soup! Oh well, it could definitely be worse...looks delish!

  3. That would be a great recipe for today! We're having a nice Fall weekend here in MA. Last week we had an overwhelming heat wave for our first week back at school. Funny how quick the weather can change!

    Thanks for another great recipe!

  4. This recipe sounds like pure comfort to me. I never thought i'd like tomato soup so i wouldn't touch it as a child. Boy was I wrong. I love it and this recipe looks like it's packed with so much flavor. Thanks Mary.

  5. We have so many tomatoes in the garden right now, so I will definitely be making this!

    Stopping by from SITS.

  6. brown sugar--very interesting, may have to give this a whirl, have a great week, mary!


  7. You are absolutely right, Campbell's soup does have it's place. It is perfect when you are home sick with a cold by yourself! Then it's like the best thing ever invented.

    But when I'm healthy, I love making home made tomato and basil soup.

    I love that you added a can of rotel, spice things up a bit.

  8. If you ladled this into hot canning jars then sealed them, could you can this? Sounds like a GREAT recipe! I need some new ways of canning my fresh tomatoes.

    -Michelle Coburn

    I LOVE your site by the way! It's my new favorite cooking blog!! :D

  9. Hey Michelle - I'm only just venturing into canning anything & haven't moved into this area, but I understand that if you do a soup like this it should be canned with a pressure canner because it is a "combination" recipe. You'd have to leave out the butter & following garnishes of course, but most of these ingredients seem to line up with the Ball book tomato soup so I'd use that as a guideline.

  10. I just made this and I've got to say--yum! Unfortunately, I didn't have any tomato paste, but I thickened the soup a little with flour and it came out fairly well.

    Thank you for this recipe! The celery really made the soup taste great!

  11. Thanks so much - glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  12. Hi Mary. If I made the recipe for slow roasted tomatoes, which looks so good, would I still need all of the ingredients here as well? I just thought if I can cook more from fresh than out of a can it would taste so much better. Your website has been a Godsend for that. Thank you.

    1. You can omit the onion and garlic, but go with everything else for the soup. I add the Rotel for the heat, but you could throw in a small can of chopped green chilies and omit the can, if you have enough tomatoes that your roasted.

  13. Mary, I’ve been making tomato soup from scratch for decades. However, being a professional; from NYC, I’d never had experience with Rotel until moving to SC in 2005. I learned about their heat levels the hard way. Ouch! I’ve never had tomato soup with Rotel’s. I really kind of like it and so does my wife. It’s definitely different and not what I grew up with, but it is good. I’ve always used San Marzano whole tomatoes. I make this in a very similar fashion as I do my tomato sauces and gravies. However, I never use sugar. I use rough chopped carrots. They add a nice, subtle sweetness that’s not overpowering. They’re also healthier and are removed before everything gets pureed.
    This went really well with my grilled cheese sandwiches. I make mine with a homemade white wheat bread. I use a country mustard or Creole mustard, two slices of extra sharp NY cheddar and between those, 2 thin slices of red onion. On top of the cheese I place a few rings of Texas Sweet & Hot Jalapeños before closing up the sandwich. I don’t spread butter on the outside of the bread. I use mayonnaise instead. It spreads easier, more evenly and gives a richer flavor without being overly greasy. Then enjoy with some of your delicious soup.
    As always, thank you for yet another wonderful recipe. Have a great day. God bless.

    1. Chris, you always make me so hungry!! Yeah, you have to be careful with that Rotel. The original didn't seem to me to be that hot before, but I buy mild now myself!

      I have to say, I did try the mayo coated grilled cheese. It's ok, but I much prefer butter! In the heat of the summer, my favorite grilled cheese is with super thin slices of Vidalia onion & fresh tomato. So good!!


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