Tomatoes are a fairly new addition to my diet. It wasn't until I reached my 40's that I truly embraced the lycopene-rich fruits and even then it was a slow process. The thought of eating a whole tomato and especially eating a tomato soup was not on my radar. However!! Whether it's a change in my taste buds or perhaps the fact that I've matured, tomatoes are now considered pretty darn good in my book.
My lack of tomato love has been difficult on my husband who adores the fruits and he has been more than thrilled that I've finally begun using them at home. Tomato soup has been his favorite since I've known him and in years past, the poor guy has had to find his fill from icky cans and at restaurants... until now.
A recent offer from Pomi Tomatoes brought two 750g preservative-free, chemical-free, additive-free, and BPA-free boxes filled with nothing but tomatoes (grown without pesticides, herbicides or genetically modified seeds) to my doorstep straight from Italy. Frankly, I'm loving the boxes that they are packaged in rather than the old fashioned cans, but my favorite part is the ingredient list:
With an Italian Idyllic vacation a few weeks in my future (my husband surprised me for our anniversary!), these boxes of Italian tomatoes were calling my name, and Fine Cooking's Weeknight Dinner edition from 2010 provided the ideal recipe. Made easy with either Pomi's strained or chopped tomatoes this soup was a snap to put together and bursting with flavor.
Onions sauteed with a tablespoon of bacon fat are then mixed with spices and finally the tomatoes and chicken broth. A dash of milk or cream gives the soup a silky finish and a topping of crumbled bacon brings a depth of flavor that brought sighs of happiness from my tomato soup deprived man.
The original recipe calls for cans of whole tomatoes, however, Pomi's strained tomatoes provide a silky smooth soup in a flash with the pure flavor of fresh tomato. Thanks, Pomi, I have a very happy husband.
Silky Tomato Soup with Bacon
4 slices of bacon
1 cup sweet onion, finely diced
sprinkle of salt
1 small clove garlic, pressed
1 Tbs all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (I used a generous 1/2 tsp)
1 box Pomi strained tomatoes (chopped tomatoes work wonderfully too!)
1 cup low salt chicken broth
1 cup water
splash milk or cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the bacon in a skillet for about 5 minutes or until most of the fat has rendered and the bacon is done. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate, blot and let cool, then crumble. Save 1 Tbs of rendered fat.
Mix together the flour, thyme and smoked paprika in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat 1 Tbs rendered bacon fat in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and add the diced onions and a sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onions soften and just start to brown. Using a garlic press, press one clove of garlic into the onions and sautee about 30 seconds longer. Add the spices (flour, thyme and smoked paprika) and cook, stirring for about 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes, broth and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until the soup thickens and reduces slightly. I cooked mine for 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.
Ladle the hot soup into serving bowls and top with crumbled bacon and a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper. (Note: the soup reheats well the next day)
We served our soup with Pepper Jack Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on Sour Dough Bread. Nice!