Having my own tomato garden is at the top of my bucket list for next summer, but for now, I’ve been lucky to have access to several farmers markets here in Salt Lake, all of them abundant with various varieties of ripe, juicy tomatoes. Our dry, hot summers here in Utah yield some of the tastiest tomatoes I’ve ever tried. Plus, there are always plenty of neighbors and friends willing to share their bumper crops of tomatoes. So, when life gives you tomatoes, roast those babies up and make Easy Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup.
The first order of business, of course, is to find the ripest, juiciest tomatoes you can get your hands on. Quarter them up, toss them in some olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Throw your garlic on the sheet pan too. I forgot to do that for this this time (that’s why they’re not pictured here – that’s what I get for multi-tasking), so I just sautéed them with the onions in the next step (but I highly suggest roasting those along with your tomatoes).
If you’ve read any of my past posts, you’re going to think I sound like a broken record, but here I go again: roasting veggies intensifies their flavor. Raise your hand if you agree. And it’s such an easy thing to do, especially in the cold months when turning on your oven makes your kitchen cozy and warm.
Another side benefit of roasting vegetables is that your house will smell so delicious that kids, spouses, domestic partners, dogs, chickens, cats even, will come out of their caves, drool falling from their mouths, and they will engage you in conversation (the afore-mentioned animals have their own language)! “What is that delicious smell? When’s for dinner?” Do I sound desperate for attention? Sometimes it’s hard pulling the family away from their computers and such. I do what I can.
I call this soup Easy Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup because while the tomatoes and garlic roast, you’ll be sautéeing up those onions and boiling some water. All that’s left to do is place the roasted tomatoes and garlic into the pot with the sautéed onions, basil and water, simmer them a bit, and then blend the whole thing up.
There’s something so satisfying about making your own tomato soup. It just tastes better than any canned or boxed soup you’ll find on the super market shelves. The only thing better than home-made tomato soup is home-made tomato soup with fresh baked bread or a grilled cheese sandwich. In the fall and winter I do a lot of bread baking, and I use just one trusty recipe. It’s called no-knead bread, and it was introduced to me by my friend Kelly. The recipe she shared with me originally appeared in a New York Times article by Mark Bittman (recipe by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery). If you plan to make no-knead bread, note that for step #3 in the linked recipe (the second rise), I only let it rise again for about 20 minutes (instead of two hours) after I’ve shaped my loaf and it comes out perfectly. This short little Youtube video with Mark Bittman and Jim Lahey shows you exactly how to do it.
I’ve always been so intimidated by the idea of making bread that it took me about a year to get up the courage to to bake my first no-knead bread loaf, but once I made it, I realized there was NOTHING TO BE AFRAID OF. This bread is foolproof and SO, SO, SO, EASY. Did I stress that enough? It’s such an impressive loaf – beautifully crusty on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. People can hardly believe it was baked in a home oven. The trick is you bake it in a very hot cast iron dutch oven like the one above (that, my friends, is a very well used pot – as you can tell). Once you have the basic recipe down, you can experiment with using a mix if different flours, and also adding seeds, nuts and herbs. It’s a very customizable (is that a word?) bread recipe.
Once your soup simmers a bit, you can add some cream if you wish, or leave it light and vegan without (it’s delicious either way).
I hope you’re inspired to make Easy Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup…and bread!
Easy Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup
- 1/2 a dozen ripe tomatoes, quartered
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 4-5 leaves of fresh basil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 475°F
- Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil all over a sheet pan. Place all of the sliced tomatoes and the peeled garlic on the sheet pan and toss to coat. Bake 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile boil 2 cups of water and let stand until ready to use.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a stock pot over medium heat and add the onions and oregano. Sauté until translucent. Remove from heat until the tomatoes have finished cooking.
- Once the tomatoes have baked for 20 minutes turn the oven to broil, and bake another 5 minutes. During the last minute, toss the basil leaves onto the pan.
- Remove the pan from the oven and toss the tomatoes and their juice, garlic and basil into the pot. Add the boiled (hot) water to the pot and bring the whole thing to a boil. Lower the heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Allow the soup to cool a bit and then transfer to a blender in batches. Blend on high until smooth. Return the blended soup to the pot add the 1/2 and 1/2 (if using) and salt and simmer for another five minutes.
- Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and ladle into bowls. Garnish as you wish.
- It's not necessary to boil the water, but if using cold tap water, adjust the simmer time up by another five minutes or so.