I even used my own garlic for the first time, and bay leaves from Sandro’s venerable bush, which will soon be heading back to the basement for the winter.
If the warm weather keeps up, we’ll harvest enough ripe tomatoes to fill the freezer with soup and sauce. But it will be sad to say goodbye to the garden and to all our wonderful farmers markets.
Back to the soup! The original recipe came from chef Chris Squire in London, Ont. You’ll have to judge for yourself whether to add broth — I didn’t need any this year — and how much milk or cream to add at the end since you don’t want it too thin. A swirl of yogurt may be all you need.
If you’ve got a food mill gathering dust in the bottom of your (or your grandmother’s)cupboard, haul it out and get cranking to extract the full flavour from all the ingredients, leaving tomato skins and seeds behind.
If you don’t have a mill or a sieve, peel tomatoes with a serrated peeler (don’t even think about dumping them in boiling water!!) before cooking. Purée the finished soup with a stick blender or throw it in the blender. Whatever you do, enjoy!
Garden Variety Tomato Soup
Yield: 5-6 cups. Freezes well.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
12-15 plum tomatoes or 8-10 medium to large tomatoes, quartered (3.5-4 lb)
1 cup chicken stock, optional
2 bay leaves
6 parsley stalks
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt, or to taste
Good pinch of cayenne pepper
A few basil leaves (optional)
1 cup milk or cream
Heat oil in a large, heavy pot. Add onions, carrots and celery and stir to coat. Cover and cook over low heat 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in tomatoes and cook another 5 minutes. Add parsley, bay leaves, cloves, sugar and salt.
Simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaves and cloves, throw in basil and purée soup in a food mill. If you don’t have a mill, pass the finished soup through a metal sieve, pressing vegetables down hard with the back of a spoon. Discard pulp.
Reheat soup gently and add milk to desired consistency. I only added ½ cup this year to keep the soup nice and thick. Add more salt or sugar as needed.
To garnish, swirl in plain yogurt and sprinkle with chopped chives, parsley or basil.