Have you been outside lately?
In case you haven’t noticed yet, it’s fall. Hard to believe, because when I woke up yesterday morning, it was still warm, humid, and the usual sweltering descent into the 63rd street F train was still kickin’. But at some point, a cool, light breeze must have blown in, because by the time I left work in the evening, it had become Autumn - just like that. The air was crisp and clean-smelling, the beginnings of dried leaves were blowing in swirls off the curbs, and the sky seemed to be hanging a little lower, a little closer than usual.
As I walked home from the train, I couldn’t help but relish the change in weather. Suddenly I felt revitalized, and I just couldn’t stop thinking about everything great that would come with the fall weather: a weekend spent outside in the cool fresh air, shopping for sweaters and scarves and boots, and hot, thick homemade soup to warm you from the inside out.
It’s pretty obvious that I love soup making. What could be better than throwing whatever vegetables and random ingredients you have hanging out in your fridge into a pot, cooking it until all the wonderful flavors ooze out, and then pureeing it all into a smooth, creamy bowl of paradise? Soups provide the ultimate combination of healthy nutritional value, since everything stays in the pot and nothing is “lost” in the cooking process, while still being hearty and filling, not to mention insanely comforting. Yes, as I walked home last night I couldn’t stop thinking about how a bowl of homemade soup would be just the ticket for dinner.
Then I remembered the bag of assorted tomatoes from my mom’s garden that was still hiding out in the bottom of my fridge, and it was on.
As a non-discriminating soup lover, it’s really hard for me to pick a favorite. I love everything from carrot-ginger, to acorn squash, to French Onion and even Amy’s organic split pea (it’s green, and I like it). But there is perhaps no soup as classic or lovely as the Tomato soup. There’s a reason it’s an age-old favorite.
This soup is pure tomato – there’s no cream, which is classic and you could certainly add, but frankly I didn’t have any and the idea of simple roasted tomatoes sounded pretty divine me. The rosemary and thyme add an extra layer of earthiness to the dish, and are quintessentially fall, though you could swap them out for basil in the summer, or tarragon basically any time of year. This soup would be fantastic topped with a large, crunchy, buttery slice of baguette topped with melty Gruyère or a crisp layer of Parmesan. I personally served mine with a handful of salty pita chips, which I alternated between crumbling over the top, or dunking right in salsa-style (who doesn’t love foods that you DIP?). One big old bowl of this left me feeling full, warmed through and through, and one-hundred-percent satisfied for the rest of the night. If that’s not soup success, I don’t know what is.
Roasted Tomato-Rosemary Soup
Adapted from Epicurious
- 10 medium or 4 very large ripe tomatoes (about 4 pounds), cored and cut into equal sizes
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil plus extra
- 2 shallots, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lay the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the extra olive oil and roast them until they look wrinkly, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
While the tomatoes cool, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the shallots, chopped garlic, thyme and rosemary sprigs, and sauté over medium-low heat until they turn golden brown and caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, then reduce the wine by half at a simmer.
Add the fire roasted tomatoes and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about ten minutes until the flavors start to develop. Add the roasted tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.
Adjust the seasoning one final time. Remove the thyme and rosemary sprigs, and puree the soup in a blender or using an immersion blender in the pot. Serve hot with a crostini, scoop of fresh ricotta, or sprinkling of herbs.