Roasted Tomato Soup
If you live in the Northwest you know the summer took it’s time getting here. With the cooler than normal weather and my own tomato-planting tardiness I wasn’t expecting great things from my plants this year. The plants grew like crazy and a lot of tomatoes set but with the cool weather I assumed most would not ripen. And then came those two weeks of heat around Labor Day. Suddenly everything is ripening at once! I’ve given up trying to keep up with my Sweet 100s – many are splitting before I can pick them – but I’m working diligently to keep up with the others.
One of my plants is extra-prolific. It was an accidental purchase but one that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. At the nursery I searched for the perfect Yellow Brandywine plant. I found it but once home discovered I’d actually purchased a Yellow Perfection, which was mixed in with the Brandywines. I normally do an extra check of the tags, as I’ve made this error before, but apparently forgot to this time around. Disappointed, I resigned myself to thinking of this new plant as an experiment, all the time mourning the loss of the beautiful, golden, giant Brandywines.
The Yellow Perfection is a smaller tomato growing only to 1½” – 2″ in diameter and has a 70-75 day ripening period, which is better for the Northwest growing season. My plant is loaded with tomatoes and many are ripening all at once. They are a mild tomato, as yellow varieties often are, not too acidic and very sweet. So while I’m missing my giant Yellow Brandywines, the Yellow Perfection certainly is charming in its own way.
With so many tomatoes and with fall weather sneaking in, it was time to make one of my favorite recipes – Roasted Tomato Soup. This recipe is simple. The hardest step is running the soup through a sieve, which is not really hard at all. And you need to allow time to roast the tomatoes. Other than that, this delicious soup comes together in no time.
The original recipe is below. I generally stick pretty close to it but sometimes change out the herb – this time I used fresh thyme, for instance – and sometimes add additional ingredients like roasted peppers. The recipe is also easily halved or doubled. I find that 2 pounds of tomatoes nearly fills one half-sheet pan and most often make a half-recipe.
Roasted Tomato Soup
- 4 pounds tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 6 garlic cloves, left unpeeled
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cups chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, in 1 layer in a large 4-sided sheet pan and add garlic to pan. Drizzle tomatoes with oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Roast tomatoes and garlic 1 hour, then cool in pan. Peel garlic cloves.
Cook onion, oregano, and sugar in butter in a 6-to 8-quart heavy pot over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes, garlic, and stock and simmer, covered, 20 minutes.
Purée soup in batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids), then force through a sieve into cleaned pot, discarding solids. Stir in cream and salt and pepper to taste and simmer 2 minutes.
The original recipe suggests garnishing with Parmesan Wafers, which make a pretty garnish. I used yellow Cheddar cheese instead of Parmesan this time, for a little deeper color, and added thyme to mirror the flavor in the soup. I make the wafers a little smaller than the recipe suggests. After the wafers sit on the soup for a couple of minutes, they soften and it’s almost like having a grilled cheese sandwich along with your soup!