Image by Brett L. Licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons.
Tomato soup may not come to mind when you think of winter holiday entertaining, but thanks to the wonder of hydroponics, we’re getting beautiful local tomatoes all season long.
Greenling has a limited number of inexpensive “seconds” tomatoes available each week, which can be a real money-saver if you’re planning to cook tomatoes in bulk. These tomatoes are perfectly fresh and safe to eat; they are discounted because they usually arrive very ripe and might have a few cosmetic blemishes.
Since “seconds” tomatoes arrive so ripe, you might need to cook them immediately so they retain their great flavor. For this soup recipe, you can roast the tomatoes and garlic in advance of actually making the soup, since the cooked tomatoes and garlic will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to make the soup, just pull out the cooked ingredients and proceed with the recipe as written.
Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup (yields 8, 1 1/4-cup servings)
4 pounds tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
5 whole cloves of garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons garlic herb butter
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus extra for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, on a large baking sheet lined with aluminum foil for easy clean-up. Add unpeeled garlic cloves to baking sheet. Rub three tablespoons of olive oil on tomatoes and garlic, and then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Cook tomatoes and garlic for one hour. Allow to cool to the touch before peeling garlic and moving forward with recipe.
Heat herbed butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy bottomed stock pot. Saute the onion for about 5 minutes, until it has softened. Add honey, tomatoes, garlic, broth, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or puree it in small batches in a conventional blender. Pour soup through a food mill or strainer into a clean pot. Add heavy cream and stir to combine. Gently reheat, if necessary. Garnish each bowl of soup with a drizzle of heavy cream and a sprinkling of black pepper before serving.
This dish is part of our Organic Entertaining on a Budget series. A complete menu of recipes is available here.