Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Grilled Vegetables Tomato Soup, great for eating and canning



I've always loved tomato soup, ever since I was a little kid. It was served frequently at school cafeteria. I wish they had put more cheese on the top. I love cheese. 
When I first came to US, I'd eat tomato soup probably 3 times a week. Campbell's Tomato soup was a staple in my kitchen. Most days I just  I thinned it down with a very little water. I enjoyed it with cooked barley and cheese on top. As you know I don't buy a lot of canned foods  these days so I decided to try making the soup myself, canning it, of course; tomato soup is especially delicious in winter months.
 
If you remember I've mentioned this once or twice: this is a year of cucumbers and tomatoes in our garden. It is overwhelming at times, having to process so many vegetables but I try really hard to make it work.
 I  have to admit as it may look  a bit crazy to be making such amounts of tomato soup(and no I'm not preparing for the  Apocalypse). I've made 3 batches so far. It sums to about 20-25 quarts (seriously I'm laughing now, I can't even believe it myself!). Great thing  about this soup is that it can be used as a base for many dishes asking for tomato sauce. Only this one is not plain, it is packed with flavor.

To make the soup I use a thick vegetable base that I add to plain tomato sauce, then I cook it for a long time, about an hour or so. I know it seems like a long time but I you want to make sure that all  flavors have the chance to blend together nicely. Cooking is slowly for a long time will do just that.Then I process it in the blender to make the soup smooth. I haven't tried it with roasted tomatoes. With the amounts of tomatoes I'm working with this seemed like a bit too much for me to handle.

First Tomato Soup batch -  I steamed all the vegetables on the stove. 
Second Tomato Soup batch -Vegetable were grilled.
Third Tomato Soup batch - I used more vegetables, learning they really shrink significantly in the roasting process. I also added roasted whole garlic bulb.
I'm loving all of  soups but the 3rd one is my favorite. I'm putting A++ to label it.


Grilled Vegetable Tomato Soup

8 quarts of slightly thickened tomato juice(if using your own or farm grown tomatoes to make the juice, best to use meaty tomatoes, like ROMA tomatoes)
3/4 to 1 cup sugar, depends on the sweetness of your tomatoes, add less sugar and gradually  add more if needed.
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/2tsp to 1tsp chili flakes(optional) 
Grilled Vegetable Base
8 medium large carrots
7 medium/ large onions
1 parsnip root
3 red bell peppers
1 large celery bunch
2tsp kosher salt
2tbl olive oil
 pinch of ground black pepper
Roasted Garlic
1large garlic bulb, whole
pinch of kosher salt
1tsp olive oil
pinch of ground pepper
Aluminum foil tray, aluminum foil

    •  Preheat grill on high, or oven at 420F
    • Line 2 to 3 large baking sheets(if using oven)/aluminum foil trays(if using grill) with aluminum foil. Brush some olive oil on.
    • Wash vegetables, peel carrots, parsnip root, remove inside of the peppers, peel onions. 
    • Slice vegetables into thick slices.
    • Combine all the vegetables with 2tsp kosher salt, 2tbl olive oil,and pinch of ground pepper. Set aside.
    • Prepare whole garlic glove for roasting: cut the head of the garlic bulb. Only as low as the first cloves. Cut the top so the cloves are exposed. Place garlic bulb cut side up on a piece of aluminum foil, pour 1tsp olive oil directly on the garlic, sprinkle pinch of kosher salt and ground pepper. Wrap garlic bulb tightly with aluminum foil. Set aside.
    • Divide seasoned vegetable among prepared sheets/aluminum trays. Place the garlic wrapped in foil on one of the sheets/trays.
    • Roast  on the grill, covered with the grill hood, for about  an hour, or until vegetables are soft and are reduced in volume, slightly golden in color but not burned.
    • If using oven : roast in the oven until soft and caramelized but not burned.
    • Remove vegetable from heat and let cool slightly.
    • Unwrap garlic bulb from the foil and push roasted cloves out gently, they will be very soft.
    • Process all the vegetables in the food processor until  you have some what smooth mixture, don't worry it  will be slightly chunky.
    • I assume you have plain tomato sauce ready in the pot, add vegetable  base to your plain tomato sauce, using a whisk stir well until combined. Add sugar and salt stir well and taste.
    • Bring mixture to boil, lower the heat setting to low and simmer for  45 minutes or longer.(I usually let it simmer on low for at least an hour. I like my soup really thick.) Don't forget to stir. This process is important for the flavors to blend. Don't skip it.
    • Let the tomato soup cool slightly and then process the whole batch in the blender until smooth.
    • At this point you can enjoy the soup and/or fill your sterilized jars with the soup and process filled jars in the water bath for 15-20 minutes.
    • This soup works excellent as a base for anything that has to do with tomato sauce. 
    • I like it really thick, if you prefer thinner soup, just before eating dilute it with some milk or heavy cream.



    Serving suggestion: serve with toasted bread, homemade dry tomatoes and cheese, I used Feta but any cheese will do.

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