Garden Tomato Soup

Here we are, summer is officially over and I am still overloaded with fresh tomatoes. I think that the best way to eat them is right off the vine, still warm from the sun, with a sprinkle of sea salt, don’t you? I like to choose the reddest and ripest tomato, and take a giant bite. Nothing better.

It seems like it takes forever for my tomatoes to be ready to pick, but when they are ready, they ARE READY – all at once. When I have too many tomatoes ripe at the same time, and my kitchen begins to look like a farmer’s market on a Saturday morning, I make this soup. And because I like to simplify things whenever possible, I use my Vita-Mix blender, one of my favorite kitchen tools. The Vita-Mix saves me the time of peeling and seeding the tomatoes before blending them. Before the Vita-Mix, I’d been through five blenders – some expensive, some inexpensive. They just didn’t have the horsepower for what I needed and burnt out quickly. Blending ice for cocktails burns a motor out pretty quickly.

I decided to go with a Vita-Mix after seeing a raw food restaurant using it for smoothies. It blended in seconds and didn’t strain or shake. It really is worth every penny. My Vita-Mix is about 9 years old and it performs like new. If you don’t have a powerful blender, you will have to blanch the tomatoes, peel them, and then seed them before blending. It will take you a bit longer for preparation, but the soup is perfect for a cool summer evening with a sourdough bread grilled cheese and ham panini. Yummmmm.

I know you’ll love it.

Summer Tomato Soup

Makes a large stockpot

Ingredients:

  • 4# garden fresh plum tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 10 or so garlic cloves
  • 2 sweet onions, diced
  • 32 oz. tomato paste (4 small cans)
  • 4C low sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • ¼C sugar
  • 4T EVOO
  • handful of fresh herbs (tarragon, parsley, chives, basil, rosemary)
  • sour cream
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions: In a large stockpot, heat the EVOO and sauté the fennel, sweet onion, and garlic until tender. Do not let it brown. You can cover the pot and let the steam cook it, stirring occasionally. When the vegetables are soft, pour the mixture (in batches if you have to) in the blender and process until smooth. Carefully pour the puréed mixture back into the stockpot. Keep warm while you prepare the tomatoes.

Core the tomatoes and place half of the tomatoes in the blender with 2C of the chicken stock. Process until fully puréed. In my Vita-Mix it takes about 40 seconds. The seeds and skin should not be visible. Pour the tomato purée into the stockpot with the fennel mixture. Repeat with the remaining tomatoes and stock. Add the tomato paste and sugar to the stockpot and stir until the tomato paste has dissolved. If you want your soup thicker, add a small can of tomato paste.

Simmer for 20 minutes.  Season to taste. To serve, sprinkle with the minced herbs. You can also drop a small dollop of sour cream or crème fraiche on top.

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