Winter Tomato Soup

Shopping with me at the supermarket can be an interesting experience. The first thing that one would notice is that I never go into the center isles (unless it’s for beer). There is nothing eatable between the toilet paper and the light bulbs. All of the fresh food is on the parameter. So, that means that I don’t go into the frozen food, cans, bread, or any of the other profit centers that specialize in packaged, processed food. There hasn’t been a reason to by frozen food since the 60’s. Like everything in life though, there are no absolutes. There are a few items that I occasionally buy from the forbidden land. Canned tomatoes is one of those items.

I am specifically referring to San Marzano tomatoes. These are unlike any other canned tomato in the universe. They are grown in a beautiful part of Italy and are canned when they are perfectly ripe, the only time to eat a tomato. San Marzanos probably have more sweet, acidic taste than anything that you can find at your local grocery during tomato season.

I always make a big pot of this as it seems to disappear as soon as its finished. A freshly baked loaf of rosemary ciabatta goes perfectly, along with a simple green salad to finish is the best comfort food on a cold winter’s night.

Ingredients

  • 2 28oz Cans Crushed San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 3-4 Pieces of Bacon (Optional)
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 4 Celery Stalks (including tops), chopped
  • 3 Carrots, chopped
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • Olive Oil or Bacon Grease
  • 1 Stem Rosemary
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper

Tools

  • Chef’s Knife
  • Large Stock Pot
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Stick Blender (Optional)

Servers 8

  1. In the bottom of the pot, cook 3-4 pieces of bacon. If you would like to leave the meat out then put a good glug of olive oil in the bottom and skip the bacon.If you are not skipping, brown the bacon and remove.
  2. Add a little olive oil if the bacon grease is not enough.
  3. Saute the onion until translucent.
  4. Add the garlic.
  5. Add the rest of the vegetables.
  6. When the vegetables are softened (5-10 minutes) add the tomatos
  7. Thin with about a can and 1/2 of water, stir.
  8. Salt and Pepper and bring to a brief boil.
  9. Turn down flame to a simmer, add the rosemary (whole) and cover. I usually let the soup simmer for an hour.
  10. Turn the flame off, remove the rosemary stalk and stir in the basil.
  11. Adjust seasoning.
  12. Blend with stick blender or blender until smooth and velvety. (optional)

 

If you would prefer a chunkier, country style soup, substitute the crushed tomatoes for whole peeled ones and chop them before cooking.

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