Recipe: Cream of Tomato Soup
Serves 4 to 6
- 2 tablespoons
small onion, chopped
rib celery, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons
Pinch of ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons
(15-ounce) can diced tomatoes in puree
Pinch of baking soda
- 2 cups
chicken or vegetable stock, or water
- 1 cup
milk, plus up to 1/2 cup more as needed
Tomato paste, as needed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter in a soup pot and add the chopped onions and celery. Cook for about five minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and wilted. Add the basil and cloves and cook another minute or two until fragrant, then add the flour. Continue cooking for another two minutes, stirring, and then add the tomatoes, followed by the baking soda and the stock.
Lower the heat and simmer for ten minutes or so. Remove the pot from the heat and carefully puree the soup in batches in a blender, or using a stick blender in the pot, off the heat. Return the soup to the heat and add the milk, stirring to blend. Add more milk or stock if the soup seems too thick. Add a little tomato paste if it needs more tomato flavor. Add some freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste. Serve hot with optional garnishes, listed below.
Absolutely at its best when serves with grilled cheese sandwiches.
Be sure to use good quality canned tomatoes and try for tomatoes packed in puree, which will add to the tomato flavor. (This may be a good recipe to use passata.) I use Muir Glen's Fire Roasted Tomatoes, which add a nice depth of flavor and are not overly smoky.
I don't always have a rib of celery on hand, so I have been known to skip it. When I do, I will often add a healthy pinch of celery seed to the onions when cooking or celery salt as a garnish.
Although it is not traditional, I like to garnish this soup with a little plain yogurt or sour cream or creme fraiche. As mentioned, celery salt is a good garnish, as well as chooped celery leaves.
It's easy to play with the texture of this soup. You can puree it in a blender, which makes a nice, slightly rough texture. If you would like it even smoother, you can also strain it through a sieve. The sieve (or a food mill) can also be used if you don't have a blender, or feel like having an unplugged kind of day.