TOMATO SOUP.

For a while now I’ve been advocating that the Spill could expand to be more adventurous than just a music blog. After Zala’s painting success I tried photos, dead flop, no one came. So how about food? Everyone likes food, right?
So here’s a very simple and topical recipe that anyone can try; since we’re all in the middle of a tomato glut, at least I am.
I don’t know what I did wrong/right this year but we’re deluged with tomatoes just now in a way that’s never happened before and there’s only so many that two people can eat.
Just about every day I pick about 10+ lbs of fresh tomatoes, whatever we do there’s always that amount sitting on the kitchen counter, almost all Brandywine heirlooms, the best tasting tomato in the world, bar none! Gina gave me an ultimatum, NO MORE TOMATOES, she’d canned/salsa-ed and preserved enough to feed the the 5,000! And yet they kept coming and they will continue to keep coming, there’s many dozens still on the vines!
So today I decided to try something, Tomato Soup. It’s very simple, takes about 15 -20 minutes.

I always use peeled tomatoes in anything I cook, it’s just a thing about not liking tomato skins in food, so let’s begin by peeling the tomato’s.
It’s very simple, start with a saucepan of boiling water, have another of cold water in the sink. Add your tomatoes to the boiling water and keep an eye on them, depending on size within about 2-3 minutes you’ll see the skin begin to split; quickly scoop them out and into the cold water! With an apple corer scoop out the top stem, If your timing was right the entire skin should just fall away, if not, poke at it.
You’ll get a feel for the timing fairly quickly, if you leave them in the boiling water too long they’ll become soggy and cooked, too short, more difficult to peel, work at it.
Once you have a quantity of peeled tomatoes quarter them and set them aside.
Peel and slice half an onion and chop small. Saute it in a saucepan in olive oil ’til soft, add the quartered tomatoes and any spices that you think necessary plus some chicken, broth; I use organic and for 10+ lbs I used less than a quart. I add about a half teaspoon of very hot African peppers, it doesn’t make it hot but gives a lovely warm afterglow.
Let it sit.
In another saucepan melt about 3/4 of a stick of butter, when melted begin to add flour, about 1 tablespoon at a time with constant stirring with a whisk.
Keep adding until it gets very stiff and then add a ladle of tomato juice, stir ’til smooth and then add some more juice, keep going until it’s a creamy thick paste and then add it back to the original.
You’ll have a wonderful rich tomato soup much better than anything you ever bought from Heinz! Give it a few stirs and let it cool ’til the spouse/significant other/sweetheart comes home at 5 o’clock. He/she will think that you’re absolutely fabulous and will offer to type your impending cook book for you. Have a baguette at hand.
As they/she says, bon appetit! Enjoy and feel free to improvise freely, I did.

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15 thoughts on “TOMATO SOUP.

  1. What a crop! I opened this and then looked out wearily at my garden which has over a dozen tomato plants and precisely nine green tomatoes – marble sized and months away from ripening. I did managed to harvest some just before Hallowe’en last year but this time round it’s a washout…

  2. I’ll put the link for this where Steenbeck can see it on Facebook, she just posted there about a similar issue !

    While I’m here GF, we’ve got Songs About Advertising over on RR, and I did a little post about how people in Harlem used to advertise house rent parties, as “social teas”, “parlor parties” and suchlike. If that inspires any thoughts of songs that tell a story about that kind of thing, do pop over to the mothership !
    My post is here

  3. That tomato skinning tip will be very useful to me. I do the first bit, but then burn my fingers getting the last bit of skin off, cold water is the answer obviously! I’ve had really bad luck with tomatoes over the last few years, so I didn’t grow any this year. The soup sounds lovely though.

  4. I think I’ll give this a go. Skinning tomatoes is my only real skill and my greatest pleasure in life. Do you not make a little cross at one end to give the skin a bit of a start before the blanching? I’m not so good at growing them though.

  5. Green or a mix of green & red tomatoes are worth using for chutney, if they’re not ripening properly. Try:

    900g tomatoes (green / red)
    350g onions
    90g rasins
    250g light muscovado sugar
    1 medium sized chilli – as hot as you choose
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
    300ml white wine vinegar

    Halve the tomatoes & put the green ones together with the peeled and chopped onions & other ingredients in a stainless steel or enamelled pan. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat & simmer for an hour – stir it now and then or it will stick. After about 25 minutes simmering, add any ripe tomatoes and carry on simmering. Then when ready, spoon into a couple of sterilized jam jars and seal.

    I don’t cook very often – this provoked the comment: “How come you can make chutney to die for but you can’t fry an egg?”

  6. Thanks for all those nice comments and I’m glad that some it registered, ie. the cold water tip.
    DP, I’ll give that some thought, a topic of mutual interest.
    Severin, no I don’t cut ‘em prior to the pot, expansion does the trick and I also find skinning tomatoes to be very satisfying.
    Ali, I’ll probably try your recipe at the end of the season, we always have wilting plants with plenty of green tomatoes. Plus I also do several chutneys every year, we’ve got loads of apples and pears in the offing so that’s where some of those will go.
    I think growing has a lot to do with climate, we get constant sunshine from about May – Nov and I’ve installed a drip irrigation system so it really takes care of itself. I had a serious gardening friend in Norfolk who always grew them but only in a greenhouse, I think we’re spoiled. I wasn’t thinking clearly.
    A comment for future posters: notice that list of ‘likes’ at my post, the majority all came up simultaneously and almost instantly, I suspect they might have been triggered by my tags which some sort of automated device picked up on, none were interested in the post but all invited me to their blogs with identical wording and sent me emails. Perhaps we try leaving tabs blank?

  7. Aw GF, i love photography and painting and art and stuff, even more than music. But they’re the posts that take the most time and thought and reflection, which is why these days i never seem to get to them. A playlist i can just plug in and go.

    However, i am probably the only Spiller who is indifferent at best to food…i hate to cook and don’t. Food is just something to eat for me…i blame too much time in life working in restaurants.

  8. Ali/Amy; Well I like all those things also but I see cooking as just an extension of those, it’s just a part of the creative process. Plus I get to eat what I’ve grown whether it’s soup, jam, chutney or stew, all of which are regulars. None are a chore and none really take up a lot of time, I always have music playing, it’s pleasure not work. I rarely spend more than an hour in the kitchen and that hour often results in enough food for several days or in the case of jams and chutneys, several months. This soup recipe fed us for three days, lunches and dinners at no real cost unless you count the butter and the flour!

  9. that looks great GF – will try a variation, I think.

    Amazing that you get so many tomatoes! We only have little cherry tomatoes in our veggie patch, but they really are the gift that keeps on giving….I go and pick a fresh load every few days for salads and there are always more, even from just a couple of plants.

  10. Jealous of your tomato glut – it’s been a struggle here this year with the awful weather we’ve had – mine are too precious to use in soup, sadly.

    My mum is a bit obsessive about growing heritage tomato varieties – she usually has about 20 types each year – red, orange, yellow, green, purple, stripy… Amazing.

  11. Now that we’ve moved some baby buggies and other child paraphenalia out of our little porch, there might be room for a couple of tomato plants there – they’d be ore or less under glass. We’ve tried growing them in the sunniest part of the garden, and we got some nice-looking tomatoes, but in the north of England there’s not quite enough strong sunshine in late summer / early autumn to fully develop the flavour.

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