With the onset of Fall (FINALLY), I’m pulling out the stove-top recipes again. Tomato soup is one of our favorites! I think it’s just because we pair it with grilled cheese, and who doesn’t love a dairy-riddled-carbohydrate, but it’s still perfect for chilly and/or rainy days. As a mama I love this recipe because I bury 800 vegetables in it, and my kids have no idea.
A note for the non-tomato people out there: David is also a VERY non-tomato person, and he loves this soup.
Per the usual “Whitney cooking style”, I got this tomato soup recipe from a friend years ago, and it’s evolved into something entirely my own. I like it because I usually have everything on hand, even the celery, because I chop and freeze it whenever I have an extra stalk or two.
My friend made hers in a crock pot, but I’m not a big fan of counter-top appliances, and I’ve found that stove-top works just as fine, if not better.
As a quick side-by-side comparison, here is her original tomato soup recipe. Italicized comments represent “Whitney cooking style”.
- Oil or butter – we use avocado oil usually, because the smoke point is high and yay, Costco
- 1 cup chopped carrots – or like half a bag of those little baby carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped onion – or a whole onion, whatevs
- 3 stocks of celery whole – I chop mine, though
- 4 cans diced tomato – ish
- About 2/3 box of chicken stock – ish. I use homemade stock, and I usually salt my stock.
- 2 tbs basil or about 4 fresh leaves – or a whole bunch of fresh leaves, if you have a plant
- 1 tbs of oregano – yup
- 1 tbs crushed red pepper – I just add a pinch. 1 tablespoon is way too much heat for our household
- A couple whole cloves – I leave these out
- 1 bay leaf – yup
- 1-2 minced garlic cloves – definitely need 3 crushed garlic cloves, fresh
My friend’s tomato soup recipe instructions called for cooking it in a crockpot for about 6 hours, then removing the bay leaf and cloves, pureeing everything else, and then stirring in a cup of heavy cream, half a cup of parmesan cheese, and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
Here’s the Whitney-style on that: Add cream, a whole bunch.
Cooking Tomato Soup IRL
OK, now that we have the written instructions out of the way, here’s what this looks like IRL:
First up, I have pre-chopped carrots, onion, and celery in a “stock bag”. I love freezing veggies like this because it’s efficient, but it’s also fancy. Per Food Network,
“The French flavor base called mirepoix is a combination of onion, carrot and celery generally cut to the same size. It’s used in a ratio that’s 2 parts onion to 1 part celery and carrot. Saute in Butter. Mirepoix is the start of many French dishes, such as coq au vin and lamb stew.“
Into the pot they go, along with some avocado oil. But, according to Food Network, you can apparently use butter, which, imho, is never a bad idea.
Sauté around, then add spices:
Friend-tomato-soup recipe says add four cans of tomatoes. But since I had started with a heavy batch of mirepoix, I added five cans: two large and three small. Also a note on tomatoes: while almost all of America uses canned tomatoes, I do think the brand matters. Cento, San Marcos, or Roma are usually my preference, but Kirkland organic is the majority of tomatoes had on hand this day.
Here’s my frozen chicken stock. This was my last frozen batch, so time to make some more of that, too!
And here we are: pre-simmer, pre-puree, and sans minced garlic. I think the garlic press was in the dishwasher, and I knew we were going to use the immersion blender on it anyway, so I just left the garlic cloves whole. But I don’t think it had quite the same flavor this time around, so I would say to get your garlic cloves pressed! And sautéed in butter with your mirepoix!
We pureed the tomato soup after this, but I didn’t get a picture. And I say “we pureed it” because David apparently does get excited about countertop appliances and wanted to use the immersion blender. You can also pour it into a mixer and puree it, and then pour it back into the pot. I’ve used this method before, and while it makes for a smoother-in-texture soup, it also makes a mess. And at the end of it all, we prefer a chunkier texture than kitchen soup all over the walls of our kitchen.
Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf before pureeing!
After you’re pureed it, add cream. I used one pint, because of aforementioned dairy-and-carbohydrate addiction but you could easily add two pints because you don’t have my metabolism.
Add the parmesan cheese to the pureed tomato soup. We have a parmesan allergy in our family, we we usually add romano cheese instead.
I prefer my tomato soup served in a mug, hot, on a saucer, cute, with a drizzle of pesto and oil oil.
And these are the faces of my happy little tomato soup family.
Do you have a go-to family favorite tomato soup recipe? I’d love to know what your favorite additions or alternatives are!