This soup, like most things homemade, is far superior to the canned or boxed variety. I must confess though this is only the second time we have made tomato soup. The first time the idea of making tomato soup blew my mind. I grew up in a house where there was only one tomato soup in all the land: Campbell’s. While we are confessing… I must also admit that I keep some in my pantry, pretty much at all times. It’s my quick fix: I’m sick and don’t want to cook; oh wait?!? is it lunch time already?…; or let’s grab a quick bite before we run errands. Those are the times we eat grilled cheese and tomato soup and those times occur once or twice a month.
Sometimes though, we make it because it we love it. Or at least I do. One contribution my husband has made to my life and which is now the secret ingredient to our tomato soup is cinnamon. Yes, you read that right. Please don’t turn your nose up and run away in fear. Try it and you will never, ever, ever go back. I felt the same way at first and now it just seems wrong without it. It adds a warmth and appeal you never knew tomato soup could have. Even the canned variety. The soup itself can be served plain or stir in cream and have creamy tomato soup – either way the cinnamon is where it’s at.
HOMEMADE TOMATO SOUP
serves 4 or 6 appetizer portions
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, San Marzano preferably
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 small onion, diced (about 1/3 -1/2 cup)
- 1 garlic clove, or more to taste
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar, we prefer dark
also this can be omitted or increased depending on how sweet you like your soup
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, or one can – also, not pictured above (geez, Louise!)
- 1 ounce sherry
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus additional for serving
- 1/4 cup cream for serving, or stir in a whole 1/2 cup for a creamy tomato soup!
1) Dice onion; in a medium to large soup pot or pan heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat; and sauté onion for 3-5 minutes.
2) Add 2 Tablespoons of tomato paste ; add minced garlic clove; and continue cooking on medium to medium low heat for 1-2 minutes.
Why use tomato paste? It adds a depth and richness you can only get from cooking something for a long time – so lots of flavor in less time.
3) Add flour and stir to combine, continue cooking for about 2 minutes. The flour will absorb and cook losing it’s “floury” taste. Now add tomatoes and broth and stir to combine.
We just made a fabulous tomato-onion roux that will thicken and flavor our soup! P.S. you can substitute broth for vegetable or tomato juice!
Now we come to the optional part. I think both these items make the soup just fabulous, but you may not want a sweeter tomato soup – if so don’t add the brown sugar or reduce it. Also, if you don’t have sherry or just simply are appalled by it’s existence – leave it out! I would however substitute some red wine vinegar in it’s place. If you must…
Add 2 Tablespoons of dark brown sugar (or don’t) and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
We aren’t done though – we have a wee bit of seasoning to do:
I like cinnamon, sherry, salt & pepper. You may like basil, thyme, or chili pepper flakes. All would be lovely!
We are going to stir in our 1 ounce of sherry, or more to taste – you could go as much as 1/2 -2/3 cup for a sherried tomato soup version!
Plus 1 -2 teaspoons of cinnamon (we used 2 teaspoons, but we also add more to serve); and salt & pepper to taste.
When I don’t use fresh ground cinnamon, and in particular for soup, we love Saigon Cinnamon – it’s the bee’s knees.
Now to puree this lovely homemade soup up – you have three options:
1 – Blender (be careful! Blending hot soups can be a hot, top popping experience!)
2 – An immersion blender which yields a quite satisfactory result OR
3 – a Food Mill, which is my personal favorite. It gave us the best consistency.
Now we are going to thicken it a bit with some heavy whipping cream and a touch more cinnamon to serve.
I stirred in 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream and then drizzled a bit more on top and added 1/2 teaspoon dash of cinnamon
for flare and a tribute to the secret ingredient (or warning – you might say…)
Ladle up and enjoy! Perhaps even with some grilled cheese or if you are feeling fancy:
Grilled Cheese Bread Pudding
Either way I hope you try our secret family ingredient for amazing tomato soup: CINNAMON
Come on… you know you want to.
Sincerely in love with cinnamon,