Make a Scrumptious Homemade Tomato Soup
The Most Delicious Tomato Soup Ever
Night insects broke out in spontaneous chorus across the darkening landscape of La Yarada. I plopped down beneath a fig tree and glanced wearily at the rosy horizon. How would I muster the energy to get home? After trudging across fields all day long, my strength was failing me. As I imagined bedding down in the field for the night, Juana approached. With a smile on her face, she dropped a box of tomatoes next to me. "Fresh from the garden. Enjoy!" she said simply.
Nestled in the fertile coastal area of Southern Peru, La Yarada is known for fresh produce: figs, tomatoes, watermelons, pears, and olives. Despite my exhaustion, I managed a smile and warm thank you. "Until we meet again," replied Juana.
I strained to lift the box, which must have weighed over ten pounds. My mind began to race with the possibilities: homemade Mexican salsa, pico de gallo, Italian spaghetti sauce. . . By the time we arrived home and staggered through the front door, we had to settle for fresh tomato sandwiches. A good night's rest renewed our spirits. At my husband's urging, I decided to whip up a batch of homemade tomato soup.
What's special about this recipe? Roasting the tomatoes intensifies their sweetness and makes for a richer soup. Borrowing a Peruvian kitchen technique, we use bread to both thicken the soup and give it silky texture. Try the optional cream for additional creaminess or a dollop of fresh basil pesto for an Italian flare. After tasting this soup, you'll agree: there's nothing like homemade!
Homemade Tomato Soup with Fresh Tomatoes
- 2 tbsp/30 ml olive oil
- 2 tbsp/20 g butter
- 6 lbs/3 kilos fresh tomatoes, about 10 cups peeled (or 3-28 ounce cans whole tomatoes, peeled)
- 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
- 10 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 3 oz/80 g tomato paste
- 1 tbsp/20 g kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp/5 g freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 - 1 cup stale bread (optional)
- heavy cream or milk, vegetable or chicken broth (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit (175 Celsius). Cover two baking sheets with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Arrange the fresh or canned tomatoes in a single layer on the baking sheets. Place them in the preheated oven.
- Bake the tomatoes for about one hour, until the skin splits and the tomatoes soften. Remove them from the oven.
- When they've cooled enough to touch, peel the skin and remove the stem end with a serrated knife. If you're using a food mill, there's no need to peel the tomatoes.
- In a medium pot, saute onion, bell pepper, carrot, and garlic in olive oil and butter until translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Place the sauteed veggies, tomatoes, and tomato paste in a blender container and blend until smooth. If using a food mill, process the tomatoes. Blend the other ingredients separately.
- Return the pureed ingredients to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until the soup is fragrant.
- Sample the soup. Thin with cream or broth if necessary. If too thin, return a small portion to the blender container and blend with the bread to thicken. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Enjoy!
Tips for Tomato Soup
- If you own a food mill, there's no need to peel the tomatoes.
- A Vitamix or other powerful blender gives the soup a creamy texture.
- If you like tomato basil soup, add two cups of basil leaves to the blender and process it with the vegetables. Simmer as directed below.
- Try canned tomatoes in the wintertime for soup that warms the soul. Roast the canned tomatoes in the oven for 45 minutes. Reserve the liquid for blending.
- In Peru, bread is often used to thicken soups. Easier, quicker, and lower in fat than making a roux with butter and flour, it also contributes to a silky soup.
- Because the water content of fresh tomatoes varies, sample the soup at end of the cooking time. You can thin it with broth, cream or milk. If you need it thicker, you can add bread.
- Fresh basil pesto makes a great addition to homemade tomato soup.