“P.S. Don’t buy tomatoes in winter, love Joshua” That’s all it says on the last page of Six Seasons, A New Way with Vegetables, by Portland OR chef Joshua McFadden. I’m looking forward to trying some of his super seasonal recipes and perhaps passing along a few here on The Right Recipe soon.
Meanwhile, this got me thinking about my Middle of the Winter Tomato Soup and how a couple of clever steps can turn ho-hum winter pantry staples into something pretty special. Roasting and slow cooking the vegetables concentrates their flavors and textures. The result is so good that you don’t need to ramp it up with fresh herbs or richen it out with cream. And you might even forget that we are a good 5 months away from being able to buy fresh tomatoes! Comfort food, and a healthy recipe, for a cold January weekend.
Middle of the Winter Tomato Soup
- 2 28-oz cans whole peeled tomatoes
- 8 Medium cloves garlic (peeled)
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 Large sweet onions (such as Vidalia, peeled and chopped)
- 3 Large carrots (peeled and chopped)
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 6-8 cups lower sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup crispy bread crumbs (see note above)
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
To make a super crispy garnish for your soup, drizzle breadcrumbs (stale French bread that you have blitzed in a blender or food processor, or store-bought Panko) with olive oil and toast until brown and crunchy in a 400 degree oven. Season lightly with salt. This can be made ahead and kept in an airtight container.
||Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove whole tomatoes from the can, reserving the juice. Cut each tomato in half and place single layer in a roasting pan or baking dish. Add the garlic cloves, drizzle with olive oil (about 1/4 cup) and season with a pinch of salt and a good sprinkle of black pepper. Roast until garlic is soft and tomatoes are dense and concentrated with brown edges, 35-40 minutes. |
||Meanwhile, Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes. Lower the heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft and starting to caramelize, about 30 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. |
||Scrape the roasted tomatoes and garlic into the pot and add the tomato juice that you reserved from the canned tomatoes. Stir in 6 cups of the chicken broth and simmer for about 30 minutes to finish cooking the carrots and meld all of the flavors together. |
||Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. (alternately, cool the mixture a bit and blend in batches in a blender or food processor). Add more chicken broth if necessary to bring the soup to the consistency that you like. Season with salt and pepper as needed. |
||Serve with crispy bread crumbs and freshly grated parmesan. |