Here’s the next installment of my vegetable soup recipe trio – Tomato Soup. Yes, it’s my favourite this week, especially since fall is in full swing over here. Tomato soup equals serious comfort food when the weather turns cold and rainy.
This soup also holds some warm childhood memories. It’s a soup my Oma often made when visited her and Opa over the summers during my childhood years. I can still picture her frying up the croutons on the stove as a wonderfully crispy finishing touch. My mother likes to remind me that I used to complain that her tomato soup wasn’t as good as Oma’s. I’m pretty sure I also complained about that to Oma and I’m betting she rather liked hearing that.
For her, soup wasn’t just a cold weather food as we might think of it here in North America. She made them all year round. Homemade tomato soup is perfect for this because it works with both fresh and frozen tomatoes. Though, Oma said that frozen is the best because you get extra liquid from the freezing process.
Next summer if you end up with some extra tomatoes, freeze ’em!
The Tomato Skins
The only drawback to homemade tomato soup is what to do with the tomato skins. I know from personal experience that using a hand blender only leaves small bits which really aren’t pleasant to eat. Both my Oma and my Mother use(d) a hand operated food mill to process the tomatoes. This is not something I see much of in the States unless it’s associated with making baby food but it’s a great way to remove the skins with only a little extra effort. I don’t own one of these and nor do I plan to with the limited space in my small kitchen.
I’ve found out from an article over at The Kitchn that it’s super easy to remove the skins once the tomato has been frozen and then thawed. You can just pull them off and it really works!
Okay, shall we get started?
- 4 cups of frozen or fresh Tomatoes
- One small Onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of Butter
- 2.5 tablespoons of Flour
- 2 cups of Water
- 2 – 3 teaspoons of Chicken Base or Bouillon Cubes
- 1/2 teaspoons of dried Thyme or 2 sprigs of fresh
- A pinch of Sugar
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup of Cream
First things first – We melt the knob of butter.
When the butter is melted, put in the 2.5 tablespoons of flour. Any flour will do. I usually use either all purpose or white whole wheat.
It’ll get all clumpy and that’s exactly what you want. The flour will act as a thickening agent for us later on without us having to mix it with water first.
Drop in those chopped onions and saute for about 5 – 6 minutes on medium. We want the onions to soften but we don’t want to burn the flour.
Now we get to the main ingredient – The Tomatoes! Pour in all that lycopene filled goodness!
Okay, I know that this doesn’t exactly look like the most appetizing concoction in the world right now but it gets much better.
Add the 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Once it’s boiling, add the following:
- Chicken Base (or Bouillon Cubes)
- Pinch of Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried Thyme
I put in 3 teaspoons of chicken base if I’m using frozen tomatoes because there’s a lot of extra water. And yes, vegetable base works great here too. Also, if you’ve got any extra fresh thyme lying around, this works much better for the soup than dried does. (I just never have any around. Can’t grow thyme to save my life.) Pull off the leaves off 2 sprigs and you’re good to go!
Reduce the heat down to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes.
Puree with an immersion blender (or regular blender in batches) until it’s all nice and smooth.
The last step is to add in a 1/4 cup of cream for some rich yumminess.
While I always add cream (or sometimes cream cheese), this step is not required if you’re not interested in adding any dairy. The soup tastes great without it. The dairy just mellows out the tomatoes a little.
We did it! We made some serious comfort food from scratch. Easy, wasn’t it?
My husband asked me the other day why this tomato soup isn’t red. It’s just not. It never has been when I’ve made it and I’m not 100% sure about the science behind that. Maybe adding some tomato paste would darken the colour but I don’t really care. It’s delicious just as it is!
Not as good as Oma’s tomato soup but I don’t think mine could ever live up to hers. It’s not flavoured with Oma’s love…
… or her good German cream. I swear, there’s just something different about European dairy.
Hope you enjoy your soup!
Und Alles Liebe,