tomato soup

Our greenhouse is one of the big garden projects every summer, but it’s also the most rewarding. Tomato transplants go in at the end of April, and we start seeing ripe cherry tomatoes in June. By the middle of July the medium-sized fruit is reddening and it’s time for tomato soup.

My mother-in-law Betsy makes this recipe with tomatoes from her Bellevue garden. It’s one of my favorites but the tomato season is very short this far north (even with a greenhouse).

Betsy’s Tomato Soup

7 ripe medium tomatoes, cut into bite-size chunks / 1 onion / 1 clove garlic (chopped)/ 1 cup water or chicken broth/ handful of fresh basil / 1 tblsp brown sugar / 1 tblsp tomato paste/cumin and salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion and garlic in a little bit of oil, then add the tomatoes and cook long enough to soften the fruit. Put in food processor (on blending hot liquids) with the water or chicken broth, basil, brown sugar, and tomato paste. Add cumin, salt, and pepper to taste. Process a bit at a time, returning the liquid to the saucepan. Serve immediately or simmer for about 10 minutes to reduce if soup is too watery.

The flavor of the tomatoes really makes this dish and we prefer to minimize the impact of the other ingredients. Last night, we made a wonderful batch using water, no salt, pepper or tomato paste, but extra basil.

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