Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cream of Tomato Soup

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $10/day.

I've really been in love with roasted tomatoes this year. They're especially nice now that temperatures are dropping low enough that turning on your oven doesn't feel like a sin. Also, the quality of my tomatoes has declined and many of them are being brought in to ripen on the counter, which makes roasting a good solution. Roasting can take a so so tomato right back into wonderful summer land. Add a little cream, and fall is officially on.

If you're in a pinch, you can drain a 28-oz can of whole tomatoes and roast those up.

Cream of Tomato Soup
adapted from smittenkitchen
Makes 2 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour (but it's mostly inactive time as they roast)
Cost: $2.40
(tomatoes: 1.50, butter: .10, cream: .25, chicken stock: .50, other stuff: .05)

Note on tomatoes: You can use whatever kind of tomatoes you have. Romas are nice because they have fewer seeds and roast up really well.

Note on chicken stock: The salt in this recipe can go up quickly. If you've salted your tomatoes (which I recommend), use homemade or low-sodium chicken broth. If you don't have low-sodium, skip the salt when roasting the tomatoes.

6-8 Roma tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lb), cut into 1-inch pieces with seeds (or most of them) removed
1 Tbsp brown sugar
4 shallots
olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp tomato paste (can be skipped and world won't end, but is nice if you have it)
2 Tbsp flour
1 can or about 1 3/4 C chicken stock (I used homemade)
1/4-1/2 C heavy cream

Cut and seed tomatoes. Toss in olive oil and layer on a baking sheet. Add shallots. Sprinkle with brown sugar and salt. Bake at 450 degrees until they lose most of their juices and start to color up. The color you're going for is dark red with a bit of brown. If you use track of time like I did, yours will really really color up and you might have to leave the blackened edges on the pan, but your life will go on anyway and this will turn out fine.

Once you pull your tomatoes out of the oven, heat butter in a saucepan until melted. Add tomato paste. You can also add some pepper, cayenne, allspice, or paprika if you like one of those in your tomato soup. Add flour and whisk until thick and a bit bubbly. Add chicken stock and whisk until combined. Add tomatoes and any juices that can be scraped off the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes so all the flavors meld. (I did this; however, if you're in a hurry, I bet you could reduce this time and still turn out a good soup.)

Allow to cool for a couple minutes, then add to a blender (or use an immersion blender). Add cream and warm over medium heat. At this point, you can stir in a bit (1/2 Tbsp) of lemon juice or red wine vinegar if you feel it needs to be brightened up a bit. Adjust seasonings. Note: If your soup is still too thick, add a bit more stock and all should be well.

We ate ours with grilled cheese and it was good.


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