Tomato soup is a staple in our household, enjoyed in every season. My husband Jack and I have slurped our way through the Bubba dictionary of soups celebrating the tomato. (In the movie Forrest Gump, the character Bubba could rhyme off a whole list of shrimp delicacies and dishes; in my case, tomato soups.) We have enjoyed garden fresh tomato soup, tomato and rice, smoked tomato, tomato with bacon and basil, creamy tomato with parmesan and croutons and tomato soup with macaroni and cheese. The list is endless.
If the tomato grows, it’s soup prevails. Paradicsomleves is the word for Hungarian tomato soup. Gazpacho Andaluz is traditional Spanish tomato gazpacho – cold tomato soup. “Saar” is the name from traditional Indian tomato soup. Zuppa di Pomodoro is none other than Italian tomato soup. The name, alone, is enough to make one salivate.
The tomato is so good for us. Its soups can be meat free, gluten free, fat free and peanut free and still taste delicious. Even creamy tomato soup can be dairy free. Simply use whipped Silken Tofu, instead of cream, to thicken the soup. We have long known that the tomato is a good source of Vitamin C and the antioxidant called Lycopene. This fruit is also high in Vitamin K and calcium, which strengthens bone tissue. It is a good source of mineral chromium which helps to stabilize blood sugars for diabetics, as well. New research from Cornell University reveals that cooking this fruit increases its level of Lycopene. However, its Vitamin C level is reduced through the cooking process. Lycopene is believed to be highly beneficial in preventing and fighting cancers and heart disease. It is an antioxidant that our body does not naturally produce. Hence the importance of consuming fruits and vegetables possessing Lycopene. The tomato also contains chlorogenic acid and coumaric acid, which helps to fight against some of the carcinogens brought about by cigarette smoke.
Many avid home cook friends are as obsessed about tomato soup as they are about apple pie and family lasagna recipes. It is a comfort food! It naturally possesses 2 survival mechanisms – natural sweetness and simplistic umami. We all love sweetness. And we also crave umami. Umami is the 5th taste sensation that produces roundness and depth of flavour on the palate. We crave umami, which allows us to retain a healthy appetite and therefore keeps us alive – a survival mechanism. As the tomato ripens and ages, the level of umami increases. When slow cooked, umami moves from simplistic to synergistic, increasing dramatically. (Hence our addiction to ketchup! It is nothing more than slow cooked tomatoes with synergistic umami and sweetness.)
I’m personally a fan of garden fresh tomato soup made from pureed beef steak tomatoes straight off the vine. I serve this soup hot and cold. I love the pure taste of the tomato. I season the soup with sea salt, pepper, high quality extra virgin olive oil and finely chopped basil. Then I garnish each bowl with a heavy dollop of Creme Fraiche or Greek yoghurt, depending on my mood. The trick is to heat up the soup quickly, thus allowing it to retain its garden fresh flavour and acidity. The soup is meant to be hot, not cooked.
In the winter it’s better to use canned tomatoes than out-of-season, out-of-country fresh ones. When hunting for canned tomatoes ignore the label! Hunt for a brand that you enjoy. When you substitute canned for fresh, choose whole, peeled tomatoes. Stay away from the other canned versions like crushed, diced, stewed. The undergo further processing and are made from lesser quality fruit.
Use the following guidelines when substituting canned tomatoes for fresh:
One 28-ounce can of tomatoes equals about 10 to 12 whole tomatoes, peeled (or about 2 pounds)
One 14-1/2-ounce can of tomatoes equals 5 to 6 whole tomatoes, peeled (or about 1 pound)
If serving wine alongside tomato soup, consider its predominant flavours. Fresh tomato soup as described above sings with natural acidity and so demands a white wine with crisp acidity to match. Try Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde, dry Riesling.
Soup made from slow roasted tomatoes will have intense fruitiness, higher umami and low acidity and can therefore partner to a red wine. If you desire roasted tomato soup with an austere red, be sure to roast the tomatoes, even the canned ones. Roasting the canned tomatoes for a few hours at 200 F in a turkey roasting pan concentrates the tomato, fruity-like flavours and reduces the acidity. Roasted tomato soup tastes wonderful when sprinkled with crumbled blue cheese and paired with a wine like Cabernet Franc or Zinfandel. Smoked tomato soup also works nicely with austere reds like Cabernet Sauvignon.
Here’s a Winter Roasted Tomato Soup Recipe using canned tomatoes:
Roasted Tomato Soup with Garlic
Serves 4 to 6
- 2 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
- 8 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1 1/4 teaspoons dried
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme or 1 1/4 teaspoons dried
- 1/4 teaspoon (or more) dried crushed red pepper
- 6 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt broth
- Clotted Cream or fat free Greek yogurt (for garnish)
- 6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)
- Chunks of crumbled blue cheese (for garnish)
Preheat oven to 200°F. Place canned tomatoes in turkey roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil. Roast tomatoes for about 3 hours. Let cool. Transfer tomatoes and any accumulated juices to blender or food processor. Process until chunky.
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, rosemary, thyme and dried crushed red pepper. Add chicken stock; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until soup thickens slightly, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm soup over medium-high heat before continuing.) Stir in basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with a dollop of clotted cream or fat free Greek yogurt.
Wine Suggestion: Cabernet Franc
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Article Source: EzineArticles.com