Monday, September 17, 2012

Tomato Time!

Ah, harvest time and its embarrassment of riches! My department chair at school has been bringing in full shopping bags of organic, heirloom tomatoes for the past couple of weeks, and I always claim what's left over at the end of the day. Consequently, they have been piling up at home, waiting to be transformed into sauce or something. However, we were away for the weekend to attend the charming Harvest Festival in Sharon Springs (see pic below of me getting to meet Josh and Brent, the Fabulous Beekman Boys--LOVE them!), so I didn't have a chance to get my canning on.

 
Still, we made it back at a fairly reasonable hour last night, so I did have time to throw together a crock pot of the most amazing tomato soup using all the fresh garden tomatoes. I also just began a sort of organic milk CSA program with a local dairy (from another colleague at work in the English Department), so I was able to skim the gorgeous cream off of my weekly gallon of milk and stir it into the soup after it was done cooking to make a delicious cream of tomato soup, finished with lots of fresh herbs from my own little garden. My roomie cooked up some tortellini when she got home to make the meal a little heartier, and we also had garlic bread on the side. So yummy and so comforting now that fall is truly here and the weather has turned cooler. I really recommend making this soup overnight, then stashing it the fridge during the day--allowing the flavors to develop--then reheating when you get home from work.

Crock Pot Cream of Garden Tomato Soup

1/2 stick (4T) butter
2 medium onions, large dice
2 large stalks celery, large dice
1 sweet red pepper, ribs and seeds removed, large dice
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
about 4 lbs. fresh tomatoes, squeezed of gel and seeds, roughly chopped (I had about 16 smaller tomatoes plus a handful of cherries)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cans spicy V-8
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chicken soup base
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon black pepper
bunch of fresh thyme and/or a bunch of fresh oregano, tied in a bundle
2 cups half and half
1/4 cup each fresh parsley and fresh basil, roughly chopped
salt, to taste (start with a teaspoon and go from there--AFTER you've added the soup base!)

In a large skillet, melt the butter, then add the onions, celery and red pepper. Saute about ten minutes until the vegetables are softened, then add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Add all of the sauteed vegetables into the crock pot. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomatoes, V-8, sugar, chicken soup base, sherry vinegar, black pepper, and the thyme/oregano bundle. Cook for about eight hours on low (I let mine go overnight).

Fish out the herb bundle, then use a stick blender to puree the soup. Add the half-and-half and the fresh parsley and basil and blend again. Add salt to taste. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches or cheesy garlic bread, or add some cooked tortellini to make the soup a heartier meal.

1 comment:

Keri Denchick said...

Thank you so much for sharing this @ work! This was by far,one of the best examples of robust, creamy autumn comfort and surely hit the spot on this blustery day.