Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Creamy Tomato Soup with Home-Canned Tomatoes

A creamy tomato soup made with home-canned tomatoes, pesto, and roasted garlic.

Creamy Tomato Soup with Home-canned Tomatoes | Farm Fresh Feasts

Grilled Cheese Sandwich month (season? day? week?) is coming, and before I share my fig-filled, or my tomato jam-spread, or my guacamole & corn grilled cheese creations I'd like to share the perfect accessory for all good grilled cheese sandwich meals--tomato soup.

Creamy Tomato Soup with Home-canned Tomatoes | Farm Fresh Feasts

Truth be told, I was a huge fan of the red & white can as recently as last year.  Heck, some of my favorite winter school day breakfasts as a kid were cups of tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. What changed for me was the realization that I had the key ingredient to make a deliciously flavorful tomato soup right at my fingertips--a pantry with jars of home-canned tomatoes.  I'm going to tell you about canning tomatoes when it's NOT canning season for one reason:  to lay the groundwork/plant the seed in your brain, so that when summer comes you've had time to mull over the concept. [I'm honest and upfront with my brainwashing techniques.]

Creamy Tomato Soup with Home-canned Tomatoes | Farm Fresh Feasts
Canning need not be 3 generations slaving away in the kitchen. But it's fun if it turns out that way :)
Putting up tomatoes is a terrific way to step into the Big Scary World of Canning.  With a tall pot, a bunch of quart-sized canning jars--I would borrow from a friend a funnel and a pair of tongs jar lifter your first time--you can have the building blocks for a variety of meals.  If you don't grow your own tomatoes you've got plenty of options for amassing a canning quantity.

Creamy Tomato Soup with Home-canned Tomatoes | Farm Fresh Feasts
You do NOT need all of these supplies to can a few quarts of crushed tomatoes!
  • If you've got neighbors who are overrun with ripe tomatoes, especially neighbors who are older than you, offer to put up the whole mess and share the preserved bounty with the gardener. 
  • Ask your Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farmer to sell you extras.  Your farmers will be delighted to have ripe tomatoes go quickly and easily to a good home.
  • If you don't participate in a CSA but do frequent the farmer's market, tell a farmer that you're interested in "seconds" or "canning tomatoes", and when tomatoes are abundant you'll be doing each other a favor buying ripe and ready, perhaps slightly cosmetically damaged, tomatoes for a good price.
When I put up crushed tomatoes I follow the basic method--shared on the Pick Your Own website, on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website, on the Food In Jars blog, and in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (Amazon affiliate link) that I checked out of my local library a bunch of times before buying my own copy.

Creamy Tomato Soup with Home-canned Tomatoes | Farm Fresh Feasts
Gratuitiously long caption as I don't know how to make words appear when you hover over the photo (though I do know how to link parts of a collage to other posts):  All you need to can is a tall pot with some sort of shelf to keep the jars off the bottom; and jars, and water--lots of water; and a heat source to heat that water (and heat the tomatoes, too); tomatoes, lemon juice and salt and a sharp knife to cut the tomatoes plus a bucket to store the peels before they go to the compost, and a flat surface for them to cool, and a pantry to store your bounty. And the floating tomatoes?  I screwed up and let them get cool in between packing and processing. No problem, still good eating.
Canning crushed tomatoes is safe and easy if you follow the directions.  Just peel the tomatoes, squish the tomatoes, pack the squished tomatoes into clean jars with salt and lemon juice, and stick 'em under boiling water according to the methods I've linked to above.
Honestly, it's trickier to bake a cake--and not from scratch, I'm talking from a mix.  Did you measure the oil and water correctly? Are there shells in the batter? How do you know you've beaten it long enough?  How do you know if the pan is properly prepared?  How do you know if the top springs back enough? Sheesh! Tomatoes are acidic enough to start off, and you further make the environment hostile to undesirable stuff by adding lemon juice to each jar.  Follow the method from the sites above and you'll be successful. [/brainwashing]

Creamy Tomato Soup with Home-canned Tomatoes | Farm Fresh Feasts

Once you've got a quart of crushed tomatoes, soup is a short simmer away.  [Or a long simmer, if your spouse is unexpectedly delayed and dinner is late.]

Creamy Tomato Soup with Home-Canned Tomatoes (serves 4-6)

2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped sweet onion (or leek, or yellow onion, I've done it with all 3)
1 ½ teaspoons flour
1 quart crushed tomatoes
1 quart stock (you could use beef, chicken or turkey, or vegetable)
2 Tablespoons prepared pesto (here's how I put up mine)
2 cloves roasted garlic (here's how I roast and store my crop) or fresh garlic or dried, I'm easy
1 piece parmesan rind (ask your fancy cheese counter to sell ya some cheap)
¾ teaspoon salt (I used kosher)
½ teaspoon pepper
6 ounces (by volume) evaporated milk

In a large pot (at least 3.5 quart) over medium heat, melt the butter. Add onion and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes until softened. Sprinkle flour over top, stir to coat with butter, and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned.  Stir in tomatoes, stock, pesto, tomato paste, garlic, parmesan rind and seasonings.  Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes up to 2 hours. Before serving remove the parmesan rind and stir in the evaporated milk. Use an immersion blender (or puree in batches) if you like a smooth soup.

Want some sandwich ideas to go with this soup? Click on the image to go to the post:

Creamy Tomato Soup Grilled Veggies and Hummus Grilled Cheese & Tomato Jam Grilled Guacamole & Corn Salsa Grilled Goat Cheese with Fresh Figs Image Map

One more photo since I was having fun playing with Vignette and Antique Effects in iPhoto:

Creamy Tomato Soup with Home-canned Tomatoes | Farm Fresh Feasts

This post is shared with What's Cookin Wednesday, Fresh Foods Wednesday, Fabulously Frugal From the Farm Blog Hop,  Clever Chicks Blog HopTasty TuesdaysSimple Supper Tuesday

16 comments:

  1. This looks like the best tomato soup ever! I have to admit that I'm afraid of canning. I may give it a try this summer because every winter I'm dying for some delicious, ripe tomatoes and berries. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Aida,
      I'd hoped, in posting this recipe now, to gently nudge the concept of canning into as many brains as possible before tomatoes are super abundant. [Hey, I wonder if any Aussies are canning right now?] Tomatoes are really easy to can, and the pay off is so great. In fact, I'm going to try to emulate the sauce from a Lou Malnati's classic pizza with a jar pretty soon (just came back from a trip to Chicago for Spring break).
      Thanks!

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  2. Canning tomatoes is such a great group activity. It's a lot of repetitive work, which lends itself to hours of chit-chat and laughter.

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    1. Lydia,
      You're exactly right! I consider myself fortunate to have my folks able to come and can (actually, in that photo they'd come to watch the kids while I walked a half marathon, and during their stay we canned. And canned.) Each visit we make different foods, and the stories that come out are always interesting. Thanks!

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  3. Just stopped by to let you know you've been featured today over at Carole's Chatter. Cheers

    PS I am in awe - you can your own tomatoes!

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    1. Carole,
      Thanks for the feature! Don't be in awe--I don't clean my own windows. No one else does, either--but I'd rather can tomatoes than clean windows ;)

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  4. Your soup looks amazing! I don't think I could get up the gumption to can tomatoes myself!

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    1. Aww, thanks! I'm telling you, canning tomatoes may take gumption to decide to do it, but once you start the process it is very easy. Me, grilling is something I am shy about doing. I won a pizza grill kit, so I'll be overcoming my fears this summer. My fear of homemade pie crust? Yeah . . . not getting over that one any time soon.

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  5. Kirsten, we're on the same wavelength! I posted a tomato soup recipe too today. Now I want pesto in mine. :)

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    1. Annemarie,
      Great Minds Think Alike!
      I was at a Hot Soups for a Cool Cause event the other week (where I got that lovely white bowl), and the one of the soups was a Creamy Tomato Pesto Bisque served in shooter cups with a grilled cheese "crouton" on top. Genius! I saw my pesto when I was rooting around in the freezer for the roasted garlic, so I decided to give it a go. It was yummy.
      Thanks!

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  6. Your brainwashing is working. My curiosity is piqued and I am definitely intrigued. They actually sell big batches of canning tomatoes through the CSA, and I've always held back because I'm not actually canning anything. Maybe this will be my year. Under your tutelage that is.
    Good stuff; I thank you.

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    1. Meghan,
      I've got a spare Foley food mill if you are ready to take the plunge. A larger one came into the thrift shop and I couldn't resist.

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  7. This is a wonderful looking soup!
    I love tomato-soup, especially with cheese and croutons :)

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    1. Winnie,
      Thank you so much! I was pretty pleased with how these photos turned out--and even more pleased with the flavor of this soup. I bet the taste of tomato soup with cheese and croutons is very close to the taste of tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. A terrific combination.

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  8. What a great looking soup! I've always been reluctant to can tomatoes, due to all the work involved with the peeling, LOL. Thanks for sharing at Simple Supper Tuesday.

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    1. Cindy,
      My daughter and I usually set up an assembly line to can tomatoes--she'd blanch, I'd peel and crush, then we'd pack into jars and can.
      Then I discovered this Foley food mill gadget at my thrift shop, and yowza--chop up a tomato, toss it into the mill, have your kids turn the crank, and out comes tomato puree. It's that easy! We fed the composting guinea pigs the remaining peels/seeds from the mill, so everyone is happy. This summer I'll do a combination of crushed tomatoes and sauce, and both would work in this recipe.
      Many hands do make light work! Thanks!

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