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Tomato Soup

By Catherine Newman

Makes: 6 servings

Total carbohydrates: 12 grams per serving

Hands-on time: 20 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Tomato soup is a comforting classic for a reason: it’s pretty and creamy; it’s tangy and rich; and you know you’re going to like it before you even take that first bite. Plus, this soup takes very kindly to variation. Two favorites of mine: adding a sliced-up head of fennel when I’m sautéing the other vegetables, and/or adding something smoky, such as chipotle puree or smoked paprika. And would a little grated cheddar hurt any? I happen to know it would not.

You’ll see in the recipe a note about adding a tiny pinch of baking soda if the soup tastes too acidic: essentially, the baking soda reacts with the acid—it will froth up like one of those volcano science projects—thereby escorting some of the acidity out of the soup in the form of. . . some kind of gas. (I remembered! It’s carbon dioxide!) Anyway, you won’t need it unless your tomatoes are really not sweet, but it’s nice to have an option besides adding sugar, which we are not doing. (Also, I love to see my own handwritten recipe note, which says, “A pinch of b.s.”)

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter

1 onion, chopped

1 stalk of celery, chopped (with some leaves from the middle of the bunch, if they’re handy)

1 carrot, chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon table salt)

1 (28-ounce) can peeled whole or crushed tomatoes (I use San Marzano whenever I can)

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups heavy cream (hold back a couple spoonfuls for drizzling, if you like)

Black pepper

Pinch of baking soda (optional)

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a heavy soup pot, then add the onion, celery, carrots, and salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have given up their liquid, that liquid has cooked off, and the onions are translucent and starting to turn golden, around 10-15 minutes.

  2. Stir in the tomatoes and broth and bring to a simmer over high heat. Turn the heat to medium-low and cover the pot, then cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, until you can smoosh a carrot on the side of the pot with your spoon.

  3. Stir in the cream, and then puree the soup in a blender, in batches. You know how to do this safely, right? Fill the blender jar only half full, remove the center of the lid and use a dish towel over the hole (this prevents steam building up and blowing the lid off). You could use a stick blender if you prefer, but the soup won’t get as smooth.

  4. Return the soup to the pot, add a big grinding of black pepper, reheat gently over low heat, and then taste. You are likely going to need to add more salt and/or, if the soup is too acidic, a pinch of baking soda (see headnote). You want the soup to taste balanced and delicious. Keep adding and stirring and tasting, even if it feels like it’s taking a long time to get it exactly right.

  5. Serve the soup with a decorative drizzle of cream.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. She also helped develop Sprout, a WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as well as Seasoned, their senior version. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health, happiness, and real food at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]

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