Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Mmm, Mmm, Good!

I froze a huge stockpot full of tomato soup this weekend, after eating all we could hold for dinner. It was delicious.

Tomato Soup

4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 sprigs fresh thyme* (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
2 cans (14.5 oz each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cans (28 oz each) whole peeled tomatoes in juice (with basil if available [I couldn't find it with basil and it was still really good])

In a 5-qt saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat; add oil and onion, season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and tomato paste, cook 1 minute.

To saucepan, add thyme, broth, and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes with your fingers (or use kitchen shears and snip them to bits while still in the can). Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.

Remove thyme sprigs. Using an immersion blender, puree soup in pot, leaving a fair amount of the tomatoes in chunks. Or, working in several batches, puree half of the soup in a conventional blender until smooth; return to pot (I ran the whole thing through the food processor, in batches of course, because I prefer it smooth). Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or let cool to room temperature before dividing among airtight containers (leaving 1 inch of space at the top) and freezing.

To this I added 1/2 cup of cream, and a couple pinches each of allspice and cayenne. Probably should have waited until it was thawed to add the cream, now that I think about it, because I don't know how well this will freeze after all. Anyway, I doubled the whole thing (even my additions) and it was amazingly good fresh from the pot. Definitely gives Campbells a run for their money.

Oh, yes, and I nearly forgot - I wish I'd read this tip before I froze all that soup in containers - you can fill Ziploc bags halfway with soup, squeeze out the air, and store them flat in the freezer to save space.

*Can you believe I've still got thyme in the garden? The garden I was sure wouldn't grow anything at all? It's the only thing left alive, and although we've had several nights below freezing it's still going strong!

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