Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Work-a-Day Wednesday: 7-Minute Cream of Tomato Soup (Pantry Recipe)

Until last summer, I'd never attempted a homemade tomato soup. It seemed very frightening when you've been eating it from a little tin can all your life. But last summer I grew several tomato plants that actually produced--shockingly--more than 2 tomatoes per plant. So I made this and this. I even stuck some of it in Tupperware containers (fine, I actually stuck them in old 32-oz. yogurt containers; I'm cheap) and froze a few batches. It was really delicious. But it always required roasting tomatoes. This is great when you've got them coming out your ears and when you've got an hour to go before dinner time. But what about those dreary April days when you've got nothing fresh in the fridge and 10 minutes before dinner. I just figured we'd revert to the tin cans. It's not the end of the world, even if the ingredient list contains high fructose corn syrup and the ever mysterious "natural" flavoring and even if each 1/2 C serving contains a stunning 3 tsp sugar.

And then one afternoon I was at my friend's house and my eyes were opened. She made a super quick, completely pantry-friendly tomato soup from scratch. It's much more of a whole food soup (you're still opening a can, but this one is diced tomatoes with only salt added). Also, I don't even think I need to say this, but it tasted so much better than Campbell's ever did.

7-Minute Cream of Tomato Soup (Pantry Friendly)
Makes 2-4 servings
Prep and cook time: 7 minutes
Cost: $.97
(milk: .25, butter: .10, diced tomatoes: .60, other stuff: .02)

Note: In this recipe you can get away with reconstituted powdered milk if you're really scraping the bottom of the barrel. The soup will still taste great. I had regular milk and used that (most of the time these days it's just as cheap or cheaper than dry milk, so use it if you've got it).

Another note: This soup is soundly on the creamy end. Next time I might try reducing the milk by half (1 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp flour, 1 C milk for the roux) or doubling up on the canned tomatoes or using tomato puree instead to see what happens. For now, know that this soup is super good, but definitely cream of tomato soup.

One final note: If you've got Italian diced tomatoes, you can skip all the other seasonings and really cheat.

1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
2 C milk
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
Italian seasonings to taste
salt and pepper to taste
dash onion powder
dash garlic powder

Melt butter in saucepan. Whisk in flour. Add milk and stir until it thickens slightly. Add diced tomatoes and seasonings.

Puree. I did mine in a blender, but an immersion blender would be nice.

Reheat if necessary. Garnish it with some basil if you don't want it to look as boring as the above picture. But don't garnish it with anything if you want your kids to eat it. The only kid-friendly garnish I've ever known is chocolate shavings. And somehow I just don't think that will work with this.


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