This summer I signed up for a CSA delivery from a local farm called Rice Family Harvest. Every week I get a box of goodies, and every week it’s a surprise. (It doesn’t have to be a complete mystery, though–you can request specific items and purchase additional things to add to your box. I just happen to like the suspense!)
Nearly every box I’ve received this summer has had tomatoes in some form or another–cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, Early Girls, etc. For me, this is great. I love fresh tomatoes and have been known to eat a whole one sliced up with little more than a sprinkle of salt on top as a snack. Good, fresh tomatoes are what summer should taste like!
Paul, however, is not a big fan of raw tomatoes, and one girl can only eat so many. So when this week’s box showed up carrying four big ones, I decided that some of them would need to be cooked. I cut up one for a salad, and used the rest to make this soup.
This tomato soup recipe is loosely based on Mark Bittman’s from the How to Cook Everything app. I often make it with canned tomatoes (I use two 15-oz cans or one 28-oz can of diced tomatoes, depending on what I have) but it’s even better with fresh! You can puree the soup at the end, but you don’t have to.
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- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 small carrot, chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- about 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 large tomatoes, diced, or 28-30 oz of canned diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, optional, plus more to finish the soup
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano, optional
- 3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (use more for a thinner soup), preferably homemade
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Pinch of sugar, optional
- Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat until hot. (If you plan to use an immersion blender later, make sure it’s NOT a nonstick pot!) Add the onion and carrot, season with salt and pepper, and stir. Add the tomato paste and stir well.
- Cook the mixture until the onion and carrot are very tender, 10-15 minutes. You want them to get pretty soft at this stage and develop some color. Stir frequently and adjust the heat if necessary to prevent burning, but don’t worry about bits of tomato paste that caramelize and stick the pan–they help create a nice rich tomato taste in the finished soup.
- Deglaze the pan by splashing in about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Stir well and scrape up the caramelized bits. Cook for a minute or two until the liquid has reduced.
- Add the tomatoes, basil and oregano and stir to combine. Simmer over medium at least 20-30 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down some and the mixture begins to thicken and is almost a pasta sauce consistency. You can help the tomatoes along by mashing them against the side of the pan with the spoon.
- Add the stock and stir to combine. Simmer the soup for another 5 minutes or so to let the flavors blend. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. Add the pinch of sugar if it seems too acidic.
- If you want a chunky tomato soup, you’re done! If you’d like a smoother soup, you have two options:
- Carefully ladle about half of the soup into a blender. Remove the center guard in the lid and hold a clean kitchen towel over the hole. Pulse the blender until smooth. Repeat with the rest of the soup and return it to the pot to reheat.
- Grab your handy immersion blender and blend it up right in the pot. Make sure to tilt the pot away from you when you do this!
- Stir in the extra basil if you want or use it as a garnish, and enjoy the delicious soup you made from scratch.