Tomato Soup My Way

At least once a week when we were growing up, mom served us kids Campbell’s Tomato Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches – CHEEZ WHIZ, that is. I thought that’s how everybody made them – how else was the cheese going to melt?!

Now that I’m all ‘growed up’ I make tomato soup with fresh tomatoes when they’re in season, but on a winter afternoon after a busy day, I have no problem whatsoever making this soup that’s based on a good old can of Campbell’s Tomato. My friends always say they’re amazed I make tomato soup from scratch. I just smile and say, “Umm, umm good!”

roasted tomato celery soup

3-4 ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise

3 tablespoon good olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon parsley

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Optional: 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1- ten ounce can tomato soup

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar

Toss the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper; place on a baking sheet and roast for 40-45 minutes. Cool slightly, then chop or puree in blender, depending on the texture you prefer.

In a 4 quart stockpot on medium heat, sauté onions, garlic and celery with remaining tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon butter for 5-10 minutes – do not brown. Add optional red pepper flakes. 

Add the can of tomato soup, 1 soup can water (or equivalent chicken broth) thyme leaves, parsley, lemon juice, and sugar. Stir. Add roasted tomatoes, stir and allow to simmer for 5 minutes – any longer and the celery will lose it’s crispness.

First the onions and celery – don’t overcook!

Can’t stop nibblng the caramelized tomato skins!

The perfect bowl.

Now all you need is the grilled cheese sandwich!

THE LAST COURSE: If you’re not yet comfortable playing around with a recipe, this one is a good place to start.

In the Mood for Italian? Top each bowl with a handful of fresh baby spinach leaves before serving. Or add frozen cheese or chicken tortellini, a dash of Italian herb blend or a can of drained cannellini beans. Don’t forget the Parmesan cheese.

Make it Mexican: Replace thyme and parsley with Mexican seasoning blend (chili powder, cumin, oregano) and fresh, chopped cilantro. Add some shredded rotisserie chicken, and/or a can of kidney or pinto beans, and top with tortilla strips, grated cheddar and a dab of sour cream.

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