The change of the seasons always brings cravings for “seasonal” foods. Around February/March, I start to crave summer foods…cheeseburgers on the grill I can eat outside without freezing, smoked chicken where we sit around the smoker all day, and fish frys with brook trout caught up the road. During the August/September heat waves, I begin to crave cold weather food. I’m not talking holiday food, because that’s a whole bunch of separate posts! I’m talking meatloaf, pot roast, roasted veggies, and mac and cheese. Might’ve just started drooling just thinking about it.
Soups and stews are a staple to a lot of people. Honestly…most of the time I am not a soup person. I’m not quite sure why, but it’s really not my thing. Stews and thick chowder I can get behind and eat all day. Soup just doesn’t appeal to me. However–there are moments where all I want is a grilled cheese sandwich with a cup of tomato soup. Up until today, the tomato soup I used was the one most of us grew up on–the condensed version with a bunch of weird crap in it. I know it’s not that great for me, but it’s one of those things from childhood that’s stuck. Until today. It’s weird how once we get older we pay more attention to what we put in our (and our family’s) body!
The first snow…
Well…technically it is the second since we got some on Thursday, but nevermind that. It is 34 degrees out right now and CHILLY. When I got home from the grocery store, hubs and the kiddos were gone and the house was blissfully silent. Then the snow began to fall. Don’t get me wrong, I love snow. I have lived in Vermont my whole life, so obviously I don’t hate the stuff. But JEEZ, it’s October! Anywho…I digress.
So the snow starts to fall and it’s chilly out. Of course my brain snaps to grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. It’s comforting, easy, and we usually have all the stuff. I would bet a dollar that hubs made the last can of soup and “forgot” to tell me. Y’all…the store is at least a 15 minute drive and I had JUST gotten back. No way on God’s green Earth I was going back! But my hankering wasn’t giving up either.
Make do with what ya got
Awhile ago, I posted a recipe (using that term loosely, here!) for small batch tomato sauce. I didn’t have enough to do something worthwhile with, but didn’t want them to go to waste. Find the recipe here! Thankfully, I remembered I had some of that sauce in the freezer still and started Googling “homemade tomato soup.” One reason I’m a little crazy about stocking up on things like chicken stock and canning stuff we grow is for times like this. I REALLY wanted tomato soup, but wasn’t about to go out of the house (I had just put my leggings on!) Thankfully, homemade tomato soup doesn’t require any crazy ingredients.
Homemade Tomato Soup from Scratch
Like any recipe I see, I kinda follow directions, but most of the time just do my own thing. I started out by melting some bacon fat in a saucepan. If y’all don’t have a jar of saved bacon fat in your fridge, you are missing out. It adds amazing flavor to just about anything!
I chopped up a couple of carrots and half an onion I had kicking around the fridge and sautéed them until soft.
I added a cup of homemade chicken broth. My chicken broth is frozen because I haven’t ventured into the world of pressure canning yet (next year!) Most of the time, I forget to thaw it out. Throwing it in frozen hasn’t hurt anything yet, so I just let that sucker melt!
I added in 32 ounces of the pureed tomato sauce I mentioned earlier. It came to a simmer, I put a cover on, and let it do its thing for about 20 minutes.
If y’all don’t have an immersion blender, get one! This puppy is one of my favorite gadgets and is a savior when I don’t feel like lugging the blender or food processor up from the basement. I whirred up the soup until it wasn’t chunky.
Be SUPER careful when doing this! The blender can have a mind of its own and splatter. Thankfully this is a “play” shirt for me and I wasn’t too sad to have tomato soup everywhere!
If you like a thinner soup, go ahead and add some more chicken broth until it’s a consistency you’re okay with. I like thicker soups, so one cup was good!
I added in some sharp cheddar cheese because…well that’s what I do with tomato soup. Next, I added in a splash of whole milk, bay leaves, and pepper. A tablespoon of honey offsets the acidity of the tomatoes. This DEFINITELY could use some tomato paste, but I didn’t have any on hand.
LOOK at that color! Holy moly. It’s almost bisque-y…but I’m not sure what separates a bisque from a soup.
I enjoyed mine with grilled cheese (and a local beer!) I only ever eat tomato soup out of this particular mug and dunk my grilled cheese in it. All in all, it took me about an hour and a lot of that was simmering time when I was doing homework. I doubt I will buy that little red can of condensed soup again now that I know how easy it is to make my own! Hubs had some when he got home and his review was: “Well…it looks kinda gross, but holy sh*t this is good!” It was just the ticket we needed on this cold, raw Vermont fall day!