Sep 15, 2011

Garden Tomato and Roasted Garlic Soup

Back in August I flew out to the western coast of Canada, to visit my wonderful friend, Melissa.  I was only there for a few days, but each and every moment was fantastic.  It felt so good to step away for just a little while, to feel refreshed and ready to dive back into everyday life at home. 

While out and about one afternoon, Melissa and I, along with her sweet daughter, stopped in at a cute little cafe for lunch.  The cafe itself was nothing fancy, nothing out the the ordinary, but soup, oh the soup was extraordinary! 

Melissa ordered a bowl of Sun Dried Tomato and Roasted Garlic Soup, and it was nothing, if not fabulous.  She invited me to have a taste and seriously, we both couldn't stop oohing and ahhing over the bowl of hearty, fragrant, delicious soup! 

Once I got home I made it my mission to try and recreate the best tomato soup I've ever had.  And of course, I'll share my results with all of you!

I started with tomatoes...a lot of tomatoes.  Some came from my garden, some from my Dad's, and some from a generous friend's.  I cut and quartered each of them, and filled a 4 litre bowl with them.  I spread my cut tomatoes over a baking sheet, drizzled them with olive oil, generously sprinkled them with salt and pepper, and placed them in the oven, set at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Once the tomatoes were comfy in the oven, I took 5, yes 5 bulbs of garlic, cut off the tip of each one, arranged them on a sheet of tin foil and drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.  I wrapped the tin foil up around them, making it look like a giant Hershey's Kiss, and popped that in the oven as well. 

I let the garlic and tomatoes slow roast for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.  All the while, developing a deep, rich, savoury flavor.

Next, I chopped up one large onion, 5 medium stalks of celery, and 5 medium-large carrots.  Oddly enough, each of these gave me about 2 cups of finely chopped vegetables.  You can easily add more, or leave out some veggies without greatly affecting the recipe.

Then I set the chopped veggies aside until the tomatoes and garlic were roasted to perfection.

Once the tomatoes were soft and a little wrinkly, they were ready to go.  I pulled them out of the oven and let them cool enough so I wouldn't burn my fingers.  I don't mind getting a little messy, so this next part was pretty fun for me. Once the tomatoes have been baked, the skin pretty much slips right off.  I grabbed each chunk of roasted tomato, slipped the skin off of it, popped the tomato into a large bowl and discarded the skin.  

For the roasted garlic, I picked up each bulb and held it over my bowl of tomatoes, cut side down.  Then I gently pinched the bulb, starting at the base and squished out each buttery, soft, fragrant clove. 

Next I heated up a frying pan and tossed in about 1/3 cup of butter.  I let that melt and bubble up, then tossed in all my chopped veggies.  I sauteed them until they were soft, but not mushy.

Next I grabbed a large stock pot and put it over medium heat.  I melted another 1/3 of a cup of butter in the stock pot, then added about 1/3 of a cup of all purpose flour.  I whisked the butter and flour together and let it brown for a few minutes, whisking it often.  This is called a roux.  Once my roux was golden brown I added in 4 cups of chicken stock a little at a time, vigorously stirring it as I added it to my roux. 

While my veggies were still slowly softening, and my roux/chicken stock was warming, I grabbed my blender and ladled in the roasted garlic and tomatoes.  I blended them together to a smooth consistency, then added each blender full into the stock pot.

Just before I was ready to toss my softened veggies into my stock pot, I quickly squished a couple of tablespoons of this in:

You can easily use fresh or dried basil too...but my grocery store had no fresh basil in stock, and I didn't want to use dried basil for my soup.  The Gourmet Garden Basil was wonderful, great to work with and so flavorful.
I mixed the basil into the vegetables first, so it would mix in evenly and there wouldn't be clumps of basil floating around my stockpot.  Then I mixed the vegetables into my soup base and let it gently simmer for a couple of hours.

Just before I was ready to serve my delicious soup, I swirled in about a cup of heavy whipping cream...just because I can...and to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. 

And that's that!  I know it seems like a lot, but it really came together very quickly, and was so delicious served with fresh buns.

There was even enough extra to stow a couple of jars in the freezer for those colder days to come.

I hope you enjoy this comfort-soup as much as we do!

Be blessed,

Oh yeah!  Here's the recipe breakdown for your grocery lists:
4 liters chopped tomatoes
5 bulbs garlic
1 large onion
5 stalks celery
5 med-large carrots
4 cups chicken stock
2/3 cups butter, divided
1/3 cup flour
2-3 T basil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & pepper


Christina said...

Yummy! Our family loves Soup!

Amy said...

I'm so glad soup season is here! I love the flavor oven roasted garlic adds to dishes, so I'm going to have to give this one a try.

Monica and Whitney said...

Oh my goodness. My mouth is watering.

Ask the Duplex

h. rae said...

Hi Jen! I had to stop by and tell you we made your soup today! And it's delicious! All the tomatoes and carrots came from my garden and Mom whipped it all together. When I saw your recipe I sent it to her, knowing she would love it. We've never made tomato soup before, but it really turned out fantastic, even without the added cream! Mmmm! I just wanted to stop by and let you know we love it! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Jen said...

Yay! I'm SO GLAD you tried it and liked it, h.rae! And, isn't it oh so satisfying to know that most of it came from your own garden? Thank you for letting me know, you've made my day!