The Perfect Tomato Soup for a Glut of Tomatoes

Tomato Soup with Orange, adapted from The Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread: A Country Inn Cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon (yes, that is her name).

I had so much fun giving a talk on heritage vegetables at the Swedish American Museum in Andersonville, Chicago.  I love talking about veg about as much as I love talking about writing YA novels.  Here is one of the recipes I mentioned. I’ll post a few more in the coming days; keep checking back!

I love cookbooks, I must admit. But I often buy them and then forget I have them. Ms. Dragonwagon’s book is memorable and high on my list of cookbooks to be cherished. I’ve had this book for years, and like all wonderful cookbooks my favorite recipes are splattered with ingredients from by-gone soups. Cooks often have signature dishes, the ones that everyone requests year after year, and the following recipe for tomato soup with orange is one of mine. I plant around 30 tomato plants each year and most are made into soups and sauces and frozen. This soup is perfect for freezing—I recommend those quart size plastic “Ball jars.” One of these will give you a main course for two people. Serve your lovely soup with a grill-cheese sandwich made from crusty sourdough bread and cheddar cheese and you will be in foodie heaven. This soup makes a wonderful gift. I package mine (frozen or fresh) with a little box of cream and a loaf of homemade sourdough bread or gourmet crackers.

You can double, triple, quadruple this recipe—it all depends on how big your soup pot is, really. I have a huge restaurant sized pot with a heavy bottom. It’s the best pan I own and I’ve dragged it all over the world to every place I’ve lived.

3 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and squished through your garlic press

1 ½ teaspoons dried basil (I’ve used herbs de Provence too)

2 tablespoons honey

3 to 4 whole cloves (count these carefully because you will be fishing them out later. I use a slotted spoon.)

4 pounds of ripe tomatoes pureed (To make the puree, cut tomatoes and toss them in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil, toss in some sea salt and a small handful of sugar. If liked, throw some fresh herbs over the top—thyme and basil are nice. Cover with foil, roast until soft, remove foil and allow the toms to caramelize a bit. When cool, run through a food press.)

Grated zest and juice of one orange

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup of whipping cream

Melt the butter then sauté the onion until soft. Lower heat and add garlic, basil, honey, cloves. Cook for two minutes, add your tomato puree and simmer for another few minutes. Add the orange zest and simmer for around 20 minutes. Turn off heat and allow the soup to cool a bit. Pick out the cloves with a slotted spoon making sure to remove all of them. Add the orange juice. Use an immersion blender until the soup is smooth (you can also use a blender but be very careful. Hot soup can shoot out the top of the blender and paint your kitchen a lovely shade of red.) Season with salt and pepper and taste. Adjust the taste with honey if needed. At this point you can freeze the soup or add the cream and serve.


Garden Veg, Uncategorized
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