Hye Thyme Cafe: Roasted Tomato Soup

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Roasted Tomato Soup

Roasted Tomato Soup : Hye Thyme Cafe
My sister and I were debating yesterday what to make for dinner tonight. She had a recipe for a Zucchini Pie that she was wanting to try, so next was figuring out what to serve with it. We decided I would make a tomato soup. Of course I have never made tomato soup before, so I wasn't sure what my approach should be. I somehow got it in my head that I wanted to roast the tomatoes first, to concentrate the flavor, and it just progressed from there...

I was disappointed when I got to the grocery store and saw the lousy selection of tomatoes.  I was hoping for some interesting varieties and colors, but all they had was Romas, Vine Ripe, and those rocks they pre-package in plastic baskets!  I ended up getting 6 Romas and 8 mid-sized Vine Ripe tomatoes. I knew I would be working today, and I didn't want my soup to be the reason for an extra late dinner, so I went ahead and roasted the tomatoes last night.

Roasted Tomato Soup : Hye Thyme Cafe
Drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil and brush with a clove of minced garlic (I use a jarred minced garlic with red pepper, so about 1t). Had I been thinking about it at the time, I would have lined the pan with foil for easy clean-up, so you might want to go ahead and do that. Cut the tomatoes in half and place on the tray, cut-side up. Drizzle with olive oil, brush on another clove (or teaspoonful) of garlic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper (I generally use Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper). Go ahead and stuff some basil leaves around them to infuse some of their flavor. Usually, if you're going to roast tomatoes, you would scoop out the pulp/seeds, but since I was making soup, I wanted to concentrate the tomato flavor without losing all that juicy goodness!

I roasted them for about an hour and half at 350. I wanted them to have roasted down and started to caramelize, but I didn't want to take them too far and end up with a pan of slush. Since I wasn't going to be making the soup last night, I went ahead and moved them to a covered container to refrigerate overnight. If you're pushing ahead at this point, just set the tray aside for the moment. They should look something like this...

Roasted Tomato Soup : Hye Thyme Cafe

Dice a good sized onion and one or two carrots and saute them in your soup pot with a little olive oil until very soft. Add in a teaspoon of crushed garlic (I used the jarred with red pepper again - love that stuff!), 1t salt and 1/2 t pepper, and let it cook for another minute or so to infuse. Now you can add your tomatoes to the pot, being careful not to lose the juices along the way. Then add . . .

2 c chicken broth
1 t sugar
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 T tomato paste
1/2 t shiracha hot chili sauce (if you like spicy like our family)
A handful of fresh basil leaves

Mmmmmmm ... can you smell it yet???

Roasted Tomato Soup : Hye Thyme Cafe

Bring it to a boil, then lower it to a simmer for about 45 minutes. At this point, you will want to puree everything, so you've got a few options . . .
  1. Run a wand mixer / boat motor through it until smooth;
  2. Whirl it through a food processor and return it to the pot; or
  3. Puree it in the blender in two batches - being sure to pop the steam vent out of the cover first so it doesn't explode.
Some people like it a little chunky and others like it smoother, so if you want it smooth, pour it through a sieve before returning it to the pot. That's what I did, and set the reserved "pulp" aside to use as a sauce over pasta tomorrow or the next day. I'll probably just thin it a bit with a little of the pasta water. Yumm. OK, back to the task at hand . . .

Roasted Tomato Soup : Hye Thyme Cafe
Stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream and reheat over low, just until hot. Serve with a chiffonade of fresh basil leaves. If you're wondering what that other thing is along with the soup and Zucchini Pie, it's a little Parmesan/Basil Frico we threw together while the Pie was in the oven. Just sprinkle shredded Parmesan on a nonstick tray and bake until golden.

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