Monday, November 23, 2009

Fresh Cream of Tomato Soup

More Soup…
I got this recipe from the kitchen ladies at work. It comes from an institutional cookbook—or maybe more accurately described as a booklet, which was published sometime in the 1940’s. It was missing its cover, so I don’t have a clue of its name or publisher…all I know is that it makes a great pot of soup. The recipe has measurements for 10, 50, and 100 servings and if you want to make it for more than the 10 serving batch I’m posting here, let me know. I’ve always loved tomato soup but never come across a recipe I really loved until I stumbled upon this one. Of course being a good 'Dump Cook’(see sidebar) I tweaked it a little. I think you’ll love it as much as I do.

This recipe is also a great one to make with kids...the perfect little science experiment—watching what happens when you mix an acid (tomato) with a base (baking soda). They love it.

Fresh Cream of Tomato Soup

2 14 ½ oz. cans Tomato’s—pureed
1 tsp sugar
½ Cup celery (about 3 stalks)
½ Cup onion (about ½ a medium sized onion)
¼ tsp baking soda
½ Cup butter (see notes below)
4 Tbs flour
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp paprika
1 tsp white pepper
3 Cups chicken broth
3 Cups half and half
2-3 Tbs fresh basil, minced
Tomatoes, fresh diced (optional)

Combine tomato puree, sugar, celery, and onions in a large stockpot. Simmer covered for one hour. Add baking soda.
In a separate pan, melt butter, add flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. Whisk in chicken broth and stir until smooth and thick. Add thickened broth mixture to your tomato puree. Stir in half and half. Heat for about 10 minutes but, Do Not Boil. Stir in basil, taste and adjust for seasonings if necessary. Serve garnished with fresh chopped tomato if desired.

Notes: The original recipe calls for the celery and onion to be minced and cooked with the tomato puree. Usually I puree all three ingredients in the Cuisinart, and cook them that way. This gives a creamy soup with lots of body. If you want a chunkier soup, follow the original recipe and mince the onions and celery. It also calls for one bay leaf instead of the basil. If you want to use bay leaf, add it to the tomato puree and let it cook for an hour to release its flavor. Remove before serving.

To make this recipe a little healthier—back in the 1940’s I don’t think they were so concerned with a heart healthy diet; I usually decrease the amount of butter I use. You really just need enough to moisten all the flour in making your roux…so 3-4 Tbs would probably do it. Also, I have substituted both low fat milk and whole milk for the half and half, and thought the recipe tasted just fine. If you’re wowing guests however, and have no care for their hearts, make it as the recipe calls for…it’s sinfully delicious.

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