Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Creamy Fresh Tomato Soup

As a full-fledged first-grader, Looly has made a pledge to embrace more soups this year in her lunchbox. I'm not sure what inspired the declaration but it might be the croissant that often accompanies her soup rather than any deep seeded desire to expand her palate. Or perhaps it has more to do with the cool travel spoon in her thermos. In any event, I'll take what I can get.
She's already a staunch supporter of broccoli cheese soup and ever since we made grilled cheese sandwiches with roasted tomato dip, she's been clamoring for more homemade tomato soup. Thankfully the kids are just as excited to pluck a few heirlooms off the vine now as they were 6 weeks ago when the first green bulbs were starting to blush.
Creamy Fresh Tomato Soup
adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten

3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups onions, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1&1/2 tbsp garlic, minced (about 4 cloves)
4 pounds fresh, juicy tomatoes, chopped (about 6 medium tomatoes)
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped, plus more for garnish
2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped, plus more for garnish
4 cups chicken stock (homemade, if you have it)
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper* (much less, if serving to children)
1 cup half and half
1 tbsp sunflower seeds, for garnish

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and carrots and saute until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Add tomatoes (including juice and seeds), sugar, tomato paste, basil, oregano, chicken stock, salt and pepper. Stir well, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes.
2. Process until smooth with an immersion blender. Alternatively, transfer hot mixture to a blender in batches and process until smooth. If your audience is sensitive to textures like mine, strain the soup through a sieve and discard any remaining pulp or seeds.
3. Stir half and half into the strained, hot tomato mixture. Garnish with sunflower seeds, fresh oregano and basil leaves, or grilled cheese sandwich croutons for kids.

*2 tsp of black pepper give this soup a delicious kick, but if you're preparing it for kids or anyone else who is sensitive to spice, tone it down. A lot! I recommend no more than 1 tsp, and to be safe, maybe 1/2 tsp if I'm serving it to my own spice-averse kids. You can always add a dash of hot sauce or extra pepper to grown-up servings later. 
Now let me clarify one thing. Just because this soup might show up in a thermos at the elementary school cafeteria should you consider it kid food. This is serious soup. Really good, grown-up, creamy, zippy, gut-warming, leaves blustering through the intersection kind of day soup.


  1. ...I want a cool travel spoon!! That might actually make me be better about packing real lunches more often!

    Yummmm...creamy tomato soup. What wonderful words.

    1. If you like the cool fold-up travel spoon, you should see our airplane fork. How cool would you be at the office with a super sweet airplane fork in your lunch bag?!?

  2. i just made this soup and it was delicious! creamy and very flavorful

    1. I'm so glad you liked it! The black pepper really gives it a nice warm kick. So comforting and yummy