A Tomato Soup Kinda’ Day

  The weather’s turned chill here in the Northeast – frost warnings in the hills and valleys north of Providence for tonight. Much as I might miss the warmth and sunshine, it’s nice to be cooking on the stove instead of the grill.( Note: No one has air conditioning up here. Don’t even think of baking in the summer!)

  I picked what may be the last of the ripe tomatoes yesterday afternoon. As I said in my last post, the flavor is just not there this year. Most likely too much water and not enough heat are the culprits. They still taste better than winter grocery store tomatoes, but not like a normal summer.

  So, what to do with them?  Too many to keep them all for salads. Not enough to make a batch of sauce for the freezer. Soup? Ahhh, yes!

  The challenge was to try and boost the flavor of my washed-out fruit into a rich and creamy tomato-y steam-y bowl of goodness.  Remembering an old Cook’s Illustrated article on making tomato sauce in winter from canned tomatoes, I decided to try roasting them first. Bingo!  And to make it utterly irresistable, threw in some leftover blue cheese at the end. (Recipe follows)

  We had it with dinner last night in place of a vegetable, along with lamb chops and the first winter squash from the garden. John made rye toast to go with the soup, letting it cool before it came to the table so it didn’t melt the butter. Just like his grandfather ate it, he said.

  SO, bring it on, cold weather! We’re ready!

Roasted Tomato Soup

3lb ripe tomatoes – peeled, seeded and quartered

2 chopped garlic cloves – about 2 tbsp. from a jar

2tbsp olive oil

1 leek – chopped

1 carrot – chopped

1 qt chicken stock

sm bunch fresh basil

4oz crumbled blue cheese

3tbsp heavy cream

salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 425. Place tomatoes in a baking dish, sprinkle with chopped garlic and a little salt and pepper. roast in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, stirring once half-way through.

Heat olive oil in a soup pot. Add leeks and carrots. Saute over medium heat until soft – about 10 minutes.

Add roasted tomatoes and stock to pot. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add basil and cheese. Let it sit with the lid on for 10 or 15 minutes to allow cheese to melt and herbs to infuse.

Remove basil stems and add cream. Puree with a wand blender(the greatest cooking gadget invented in the last 30 years!) or in a food processor or blender. Return to pot to reheat but do not allow to boil. Serve hot.


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