Wait, did she say….
No, no, no, get your mind out of the gutter, I said pantry raid!
Saturday started out cold and drizzley. About lunchtime I started thinking about soup, tomato soup in particular. Having none, and loathe to venture out into the crappy weather, I started rummaging in the cabinets to see what might be at hand. I had a can of diced tomatoes so I figured I had the base. Maybe you are lucky enough to have some home-canned tomatoes, those would be great for this recipe. Then I searched the internet to get some idea of proportions and seasoning, having never made tomato soup from “scratch” before.
I was surprised that carrots were called for in most of the recipes. In the end I realized why, they added a nice texture, as a thickener. So, chop about 1/2 cup of onions and 1/3 cup of carrots. Sautee in olive oil about 8 minutes, until the onions and carrots start to soften, then add 1 clove of garlic (or equivalent) the last 2 minutes. Dump in the tomatoes, add 1 cup of chicken broth if you have it. I didn’t so I used chicken boullion and water. I also added dried basil, salt and pepper. Also honey, just to give it some sweetness since I know this brand of canned tomatoes are rather tart. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, put a lid on it and leave it for 30 minutes.
This gives you time for other pursuits. Let’s see, I worked on scanning some pages from Timeline, a publication by the Ohio Historical Society, about the Whittlesey Culture, a late pre-historic Native American culture that lived in Northeast Ohio. While the pages scanned, I thought I would get rid of some old stuff in the cabinets that I found while I was scrounging. In the process, I dislodged a can of kidney beans that hit me right in the face, on my upper lip, giving me a little cut and some swelling. You know, it never pays to clean LOL!! Ouch. So I got some ice to put on it and went back to scanning. Then the timer went off for the soup.
Now it’s time to puree. I thought I would use my hand blender for this, but didn’t have enough volume in the sauce pan. If you’ve ever accidentally pulled your hand blender out of the bowl before you turn it off, you know the joy of cleaning spots and splatters off yourself and every area of the kitchen – those suckers are powerful and can send a splatter across the room if you’re not careful! I let the mix cool a little then put it all in the blender and let it whirl until it was a smooth puree.
Pour it back into the saucepan and add 1 cup of milk, or more if you like a thinner soup or need to stretch the servings. Just bring to a simmer and it’s ready to eat.
OK, you can tell I’m not a professional food photographer because I didn’t notice that drip on the inside of the bowl.
Serve with crackers and grilled cheese sandwiches, a must accompaniment for tomato soup in our house! I used colby jack cheese and olive oil bread for this one.
The taste was wonderful, very close to prepared tomato soup, but heartier and healthier. I figure the sodium was about 1/3 of that of canned soup since we used no sodium tomatoes and boullion. Also a good recipe for flu season, as it contains lots of vitamin C and beta carotene. My recipe makes 2 thick servings, but could be stretched to 4 if you add another cup of milk. This is a flexible recipe use what you’ve got on hand. The taste will be different depending on the tomatoes used - I used Muir Glen Fire Roasted Organic Diced Tomatoes, No Salt Added.
Just remember – use a ladder for cleaning those upper cabinets!
Tomato Soup from the Pantry
Makes 2 servings.1 – 14.5 oz can of tomatoes 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil 1/2 cup of onions 1/3 cup carrots 1 clove garlic 1 tsp. dried basil 1 tsp salt, less if using salted tomatoes and regular boullion/broth 1/4 tsp black pepper 1 -2 cups milk, depending on desired thickness (I used fat-free milk) Dice onions and carrots. Sautee in 2 quart saucepan about 8 minutes or until they start to soften. Add garlic and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and their liquid, basil, salt to taste and black pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove from heat. Cool slightly and puree in blender. Return to saucepan, add milk and bring to simmer.
Pour in bowls, add crackers if desired, and don’t forget the grilled cheese sandwiches!