I had forgotten how delicious this Tomato Soup is!

It was one of the first recipes I ever made: clipped from an underground newspaper then made into my own. Was it the first time I pureed something? pretty sure of it. First time i made a soup other than chicken? its gotta be. First time i even contemplated that one could make their own tomato soup, not from a can? definately (taking into consideration I was still a kid).

But it didn’t take long until I discovered a whole world of fabulous things to cook, and wild spices and roller-coaster taste combinations–each time I went into that kitchen I wanted to experiment further, wilder, more adventuresome. And its kinda been like that ever since.

Needless to say, my tomato soup fell by the wayside. But last night, i was thinking: its tomato season. Though my tomatoes were not as fabulous as they might have been ( in fact they were pretty miserable; i added some canned to the mix to oomph them up)I suspect what i was really thinking was remembering:  the lovely bowlful of vaguely creamy tomato soup and how warm and cozy it made me feel.

And while it all may have stayed in the land of nostalgia which is never as good now as it was then….this soup is still good, in fact, its WONDERFUL. Right. Now.

Tomato Soup from another Era (and just as delicious now)

Serves about 4, or two,  having seconds

The amounts here are hugely variable; i added some canned/tinned tomatoes to oomph up my anemic ones; alternatively you could add a spoonful or two of tomato paste, or if the tomatoes are lovely in their own right: you need nothing else at all.

I topped the soup with Greek yogurt though I remember the original called for sour cream–either is delicious. And originally i cooked the onions and tomatoes in butter; last night I used olive oil and it was sleeker, more tomatoey. And on top  I sprinkled basil from my garden instead of the marjoram from way back when. Frankly i think it was because marjoram was always growing in my garden; these days its basil.

As the variables on this soup vary so hugely: from the taste and texture of the tomatoes to the size of the onions, you’ll have to adjust as you go:  soup too thick? thin it down with broth or water, soup too thin? tomato paste, or better yet: start with it too thick and add more liquid as needed.

Oh, and i used, for the broth, a porcini bouillion/stock cube mixed with water: the soup doesn’t taste like mushrooms necessarily but it ooooomphs up its umami-ness.

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 small white/yellow onions, or 1 medium-large one, coarsely chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped or sliced

20 medium large tomatoes, coarsely chopped (including their juices) or: 5-10 fresh tomatoes, chopped, PLUS one can/tin of chopped tomatoes including their juices; if tomatoes are okay, or if they aren’t okay but you don’t want to use canned, just add a spoonful or two of tomato paste

2 cups vegetable/chicken broth/bouillion cube plus water

1 1/2 -2 cups whole milk

Salt and pepper to taste

About 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, for dollops on top

Basil leaves for snipping

In a heavy saucepan heat the olive oil and lightly saute the onions and garlic; when just softened a bit–don’t brown, you don’t want an overcooked caramelized onion taste–add the tomatoes and raise the heat a little, stirring a few times as the tomatoes cook down. Cook about……shall we say 10  minutes? Then, lets all the broth/bouillon cube and water. Keep cooking, another 10-15 minutes, over medium heat. You want the tomatoes cooked, warmed, but not long simmered. You still want freshness.

Puree the solids with the milk; i used a blender but you could use a food processor or immersion blender.

Return to pan with the tomato cooking liquid/broth. Salt and pepper to taste. Heat through to just bubbling around the edges, then ladle up into bowls, serving each with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkling of basil.


Here is what I’m thinking: that this soup would be fabulous customized: with Indian spices, with fresh ginger, or Middle Eastern. Or how it would be with chickpeas floating in it and a drizzle of olive oil? And what about Mexican, with roasted chillies? in other words, i’m thinking that the roller-coaster ride of exotic-ness might fit very nicely into this recipe. I’ll keep you updated with any discoveries…….

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