This is not the Tomato Soup of your childhood. There is no Campbell’s product anywhere (unless you have a painting of the Andy Warhol soup can in your kitchen), and cream is not involved. More importantly, nothing is pureed. What this soup is however, is a roasted tomato bowl of pure bliss. Simple, fresh flavours highlighted by roasting and completely addicting.
This soup was first born in my ongoing growth in the kitchen to try and overcome my childhood aversions – tomato soup in this case. Clearly, I strayed a bit. From the market I got a giant bag of plum tomatoes, as well as the seasonal root vegetables of rutabaga, kohlrabi, and beets. Inspired by a tomato soup recipe in Eric Tucker’s Millennium cookbook and my ciambotta recipe, I set out experimenting. The end result is a soup that is quite possibly the recipe of Fall 2013. The roasted tomatoes add such depth and flavour to the soup it’s surprising. Roasted garlic is never a bad thing, and roasting the onions is an optional but highly recommended step. The beets add a gorgeous deep red hue to the soup, making the bowl look even more ‘tomatoey’. The rutabaga and kohlrabi add some nice contrast in both colour and crunch, and the swiss chard at the end looks like bright green ribbons. The root vegetables used here could be completely interchangeable, depending on your preference. Parsnips, turnips, potatoes … anything. Mushrooms would also be a nice addition to the soup. The roasted vegetables are helped along with some fresh thyme, rosemary, fennel, and oregano. A splash of balsamic at the end for some acid, and you’re ready to slurp. The best part is that the soup almost cooks itself. The roasting does all the hard work – you just have to throw it all together in a pot after and let the flavours marry.
Although I failed to conquer my tomato soup aversion from my childhood, in the process I’ve discovered the tomato soup recipe of the year, and one that I will be making again and again!
Roasted Tomato and Root Vegetable Soup
1 medium onion, cut into ⅛ ‘moons’
1 bulb garlic, top cut off and loose skin removed
27 small plum tomatoes, halved (~10¾ cup)
2 medium beets, cut into ¼” cubes
1 rutabaga, cut into ¼” cubes*
2 kohlrabi, cut into ¼” cubes*
½ tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
12 cups water, as necessary
1 tsp. dried thyme OR 1 tbsp. fresh
½ tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 cups swiss chard, chiffonade
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
*Root vegetables should amount to ~3 cups. Seasonal pickings!
1) Line a 9”x13” baking pan and two cookie sheets with parchment paper. (*Note* If you don’t have parchment, spray your pan and trays with a lot of oil. The caramelization is what gives the vegetables flavour, but it’ll also guarantee hours scrubbing the pan if you forget either to line or oil the pans!)
2) In baking pan add onion, garlic, beets, and root vegetables.
3) On cookie trays, lay the halved tomatoes skin side down in a single layer.
4) Sprinkle all vegetables with pepper.
5) Roast all vegetables at 425oF for 40-45min, flipping the pans halfway.
6) Once vegetables are roasted, cut onion, garlic, and tomatoes into bite-sized pieces.
7) In large stockpot, add roasted onion and garlic, apple cider vinegar, and ½ cup water. Bring to a boil and let simmer ~5min.
8) Add root vegetables, all remaining herbs and spices, and 8 cups of water. Stir, cover, and bring to a boil. Let simmer ~10 min.
9) Add roasted tomatoes. Gently pour 4 cups of water over baking trays, and tip trays into the stockpot – we want the roasted juices! Stir, cover, and bring to a boil. Let simmer ~15min.
10) Add swiss chard and balsamic vinegar. Stir and cook until chard bright green and wilted, ~5min.