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Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup

I’m 10 years old and sitting for a portrait in Mrs. DeWitt’s home, my 5th grade teacher who also happens to paint as a hobby. She lives up the street from us in a brick duplex and asks me if I would mind sitting still for a couple of hours while she paints my portrait – lunch included afterwards and I get to keep the portrait. I agree, figuring I haven’t got much to lose.

Except lunch was canned tomato soup. I’ve never eaten tomato soup before, and it tastes pretty awful. I try my best to swallow more than a spoonful, but it’s obvious to Mrs. DeWitt that I’m less than enthralled. It’s not that I don’t like tomatoes. In my house, we ate plenty of tomatoes – raw in salads, cooked in sauce, but never as a soup by itself. If we had extra tomatoes from our garden (which took up the whole back yard) they were vacuum-sealed in mason jars and used during the winter for everything from stews to gravy – but never tomato soup.

More decades later than I care to admit, I have to say that the tomato soup drought has ended. Although I’ve got a surfeit of tomatoes in my garden, I don’t feel like standing over boiling pots of hot water to preserve jars for wintertime. Instead, I took the plunge last week and made tomato soup for the first time – and you know what? It was nothing like that canned drivel that I remember eating so many years ago as a young girl. Sorry, Mrs. DeWitt, but your painting skills were far superior to your culinary talents. I just wish I knew where that portrait got to.

Homemade Tomato Soup

Printable Recipe Here

about 4 to 5 pounds tomatoes, cut into chunks (no need to take off skins or remove seeds)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 sticks celery, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, diced
2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
3 cups chicken broth
one bunch basil (about 40 leaves)
half and half, or heavy cream – to taste (optional)

decoration: yogurt thinned out with milk (optional)

In a large pot, saute the onion, garlic, carrots and celery in the olive oil until softened. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, salt, pepper and basil. Cook for about 1/2 hour. Puree everything in a blender, then pour back into the pot. Add as much half and half or heavy cream as you like, but leave it out if you’re counting calories. Freezes well too, but add the cream just before serving.

Decorate with a bit of plain yogurt thinned out with a little milk until it’s the pourable. Make concentric circles with the mixture, then take a toothpick and move it back and forth to create the web design. Sprinkle a little minced basil on top.

This Post Has 23 Comments
  1. I never have made homemade tomato soup (it was one of the few things my father "cooked" – from a can – and sigh – I loved it.) I am allergic to steaming pots of water in the summer – but this sounds do-able. And your presentation – couldn't be lovelier.

  2. Delicious soup…I need to prepare something like this very soon, it is too hot these days in Siena. Need something fresh and light like your lovely soup. Un bacio, Pat

  3. How gorgeous is that? Wow! You must have been a food stylist in another life. Tomatoes are starting to come to market here, so there is no excuse for me not to make this. My family will love it. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings…Mary

  4. Linda – you should "screen capture" this post. The soup plus your banner makes a most memorable blog post image.
    P.S. YOUR soup sounds perfect. Our sorority cook made a tomato soup like Mrs. DeWitt's. I haven't tried to make my own after all these decade either…

  5. Ah, your tomato soup looks so pretty! I'm sorry I missed this post — I have been running around from florist to florist trying to find one who understands what my daughter likes and at the price we can afford. I never thought it would be so difficult!

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