Creamy Tomato Soup
Yesterday was the official start of summer and while you may not be thinking of having soup this time of year, I am thinking ahead to a couple of months from now, when I’ll be canning more tomatoes and thought it would be great to use what I have stored before then. Plus, I’m kind of a soup freak and love to make and eat soup any time of year. If you don’t have your own canned tomatoes, just use store-bought cans of tomatoes.
Tip: Even if you don’t have enough tomatoes to can in your own garden, inquire at your local farm store if they have “seconds.” These are tomatoes or other produce that is slightly distressed and sold at a deep discount. In the case of tomatoes, this can mean some bruised skin. Since you remove the skins before canning, you can use the perfectly good tomatoes on the cheap. At my local place, I can get a 25 pound box of tomatoes for about $12.00.
One of the greatest things I ever learned how to do in the kitchen was canning. I don’t can very much yet - but what I do in abundance each year is can tomatoes. Canning is a method of food preservation that involves putting food in jars and processing either at a very high heat or high pressure. This process kills any microorganisms and deactivates enzymes that can cause food spoilage. During canning, a vacuum seal is achieved while the jars cool. This process drives air from the jar, creating a vacuum seal as the food cools. This seal helps preserve canned food for 1 - 5 years.
How did canning start? Turns out we may have Napoleon and the French Government to thank. I feel like I have so much to thank the French for…fine cheeses, fine wine, fine pastries and now canning. Merci!
I don’t give canning recipes on my site because, well, there’s more to it than a little heat and if you don’t do it right, you could get sick. So, here’s my advice: Follow any USDA-approved recipe or better yet, learn all about canning in Living Homegrown’s Canning Academy. It’s a fantastic course that covers all sorts of territory and you’ll be better for it if you decide to do a lot of canning.
I tend to use a pressure canner for tomatoes because I have one and I don’t have to add acid to the jars, but the great thing about canning tomatoes is you can simply do it in hot water, so you don’t have to buy a lot of fancy equipment. Be sure to check it out and get your recipes from reputable sites.
Creamy Tomato Soup
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 pound yellow onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes (or equivalent home canned tomatoes)
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons honey
In a large pot on medium heat,, melt the butter. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 15-20 minutes.
Add flour and stir until thickened and it turns a light golden color, about 3 minutes. Do not allow to get too dark/brown.
Stir in the tomatoes (including the juice), chicken broth, sugar, salt, celery salt and pepper. Raise heat to medium until the liquid bubbles, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot frequently.
Note: the tomato liquid will vary if using your own canned tomatoes. Use your best judgment on whether you want to add all of the liquid or not.
Stir in half-and-half and honey. Remove from heat and purée using a hand blender, or allow to cool until no longer steaming and purée in batches in a stand blender. Return to medium heat just until heated through. Serve hot.
This recipe is easy and so flavorful It serves about 8 servings and is inspired by a soup recipe on the NY Times Cooking site. Enjoy!