It wasn’t until I moved to California that I began to appreciate changes in weather. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and all of that. Growing up, my time was split between Georgia and Texas, and in both states we lived on the coast so the storms could be spectacular. But I took the almost daily summer thundershowers for granted. It’s just what the weather did… how boring.
Then after a year of sunshine and mild California weather, I went back to Atlanta to visit friends. It was July. We were at an outdoor party enjoying grilled hamburgers and sunny weather when all of a sudden a dark cloud rolled in. Within minutes, we were being pelted by quarter-sized raindrops. Everyone at the party ran for shelter… except for me. I ran into the rain and looked up. I let the drops hit my cheeks and shoulders. I was so happy to see real rain that I didn’t care about the funny looks I was getting from the rest of the party-goers.. About fifteen minutes later, the rain stopped and the party resumed outside.
After that short rain shower, I was flooded with memories of rainy days. Sitting at the sliding glass door watching the water come down in sheets. The cool, clean smell after a big shower washed down the trees. And I remembered the time I was five when my best friend and I went sloshing around her backyard with a tiny umbrella between us during a storm. We got soaked to the bone but it was so much fun.
It doesn’t rain very often here, so I miss it (though we get the extended drizzle sometimes). But yesterday we had a good, long rain shower. I cracked my backdoor so I could hear it hitting the trees. When I woke up this morning, the rain was gone, but it left behind a crispness in the air that said it is now unmistakably fall.
So I couldn’t help myself really, I had to make soup. I didn’t know what sort of soup I was making until it was almost made. Funny how that happens sometimes. I roasted five roma tomatoes last night. I didn’t have a real purpose set aside for them yet, I just thought they would be good with pasta or even alongside an egg. I first tried slow roasting tomatoes after reading Molly Wizenberg‘s A Homemade Life and now I like to keep a few in the refrigerator to toss into things.
Armed with roasted tomatoes in the refrigerator, I decided a roasted tomato soup sounded good (by the way, this is the first tomato soup of any kind that I’ve made from scratch). It turns out that this is a very easy soup to make, though with the roasting time thrown in it does take a while from start to finish. Slow and steady wins the race. The depth of flavor this soup has from roasting both the tomatoes and the onion is well worth the hours you let the oven do its thing roasting the tomatoes and onions while you watch a movie or read blogs.
Roasted Tomato Soup
5 Roma tomatoes
1 small yellow onion
olive oil (for roasting)
1/2 to 1 tablespoon basil leaves, roughly chopped
2-3 cups of chicken stock
1/4 cup half and half
salt and pepper, to taste
Steps 1 and 2 can be done ahead of time like on a lazy Saturday afternoon while you are watching college football or reading a book…
1. Roast the tomatoes: Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half, and place them on a baking sheet skin side down. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast tomatoes in the oven for 2-3 hours. You can keep these in the refrigerator for up to a week (although they are a flavorful addition to many meals so I doubt they’ll last a week).
2. Roast the onion: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel, then slice onion into about 1/2-1 inch pieces. Toss in olive oil. Spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes (I did 45 minutes because I like the browner pieces, go less if you don’t like them as much).
3. Set aside 2 tomato halves.
4. In a blender, 4 tomatoes (8 halves), all of the onion, basil, and 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Blend to liquid. Keep adding stock until it is the consistency you like. I used about 2 cups and it produced a hearty soup.
5. Optionally, add about 1/4 cup (or more) of half and half to enrich the soup and give it an even creamier taste.
6. Rough chop the 2 tomato halves.
7. Pour the soup from the blender into a pot to heat, stir in the rough chopped tomatoes.
8. Season to taste.
Makes about 3 cups of soup.
Serving suggestion: serve soup warm over croutons or chunks of a rustic bread, sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese.
Other soups to consider:
Tomato, white bean, and bacon soup from Simply Recipes
Quick Tomato Soup from 100 Mile Diet
Chickpea tomato soup from Orangette
Tomato soup with roasted garlic and seaonal herbs from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen
Tomato Florentine Soup from the Recipe Girl
Get-well-quickly Tomato Soup from Homesick Texan