I came home from a 10-day family vacation to a garden overflowing with vegetables! The neighbor who was taking care of our chickens and watering my patio containers harvested a few tomatoes and cucumbers while we were gone, but most of the veggies were patiently waiting for my return. Needless to say, I’ve spent the last few days up to my elbows in pickles and marinara sauce! I’ve been trying to process and freeze as much as possible, not wanting to waste a single bite of summer goodness. I know I’ll be thankful for all the homegrown deliciousness when I’m pulling it out of the freezer in January.
One of my favorite things to do with my tomatoes is make my mother’s tomato soup recipe. It is the best tomato soup I’ve ever had, and everyone who I share the recipe with agrees—it’s awesome! I can’t believe I’ve been writing this blog since 2009 and I’ve never shared the recipe with my readers. I’m ashamed of myself. So, at long last, here it is:
Recipe: The World’s Best Tomato Soup Recipe
- 1 peck tomatoes (I use mixed heirlooms)
- 3 large onions, chopped
- 3 T. butter
- 2 large peppers, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 T. salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 T. corn starch, dissolved in a few tablespoons water
Peel and seed the tomatoes. To peel them, put them in a pot of boiling water for one minute then dunk them immediately into a sink full of ice water. The skins will slip right off. Use your hands to squeeze out the seeds. Coarsely chop the skinned and seeded tomatoes.
In a large stockpot, sauté the onions in the butter until they’re light brown. Add the tomatoes, peppers, celery and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Let simmer uncovered for an hour or two, until everything is soft.
Let the pot cool off a little, then remove the bay leaf and use a blender or food processor to purée the tomato mixture until very smooth. Return the puréed mixture to the stockpot. Add the salt and sugar. Stir well. Add the cornstarch and water mixture, and bring the soup to a near boil to thicken.
You can then can the soup in jars using the water-bath canning method, but I prefer to let the soup cool completely and then pack it into quart-sized zipper top plastic bags and put them in the freezer. I swear there is nothing better than a winter lunch of this soup with a grilled cheese sandwich and a side of my Nana’s bread-and-butter pickles.