With summer (sadly) coming to a close, if you’re like us, it means the last of those tomatoes are probably being harvested about now. Or your farmers have told you those sad words of “this is our last week of bringing tomatoes to market.” The good news is that if you planned ahead and had a bumper crop of tomatoes, it gave you ample opportunity to “put ’em up” for winter, as canning and tomatoes are a perfect match. There’s nothing like reaching into the pantry for your own home-canned tomatoes to give you a little taste of summer all throughout the year.
If you don’t have a larder stocked with your own tomatoes, never fear. This recipe works just fine with some good quality canned tomatoes. I’ve actually found San Marzano tomatoes (canned) at Costco. Concerned about BPA? You can always opt for brands like Pomi, which use cardboard boxes that are BPA-free, and Muir Glen now claims that their canned tomatoes are also BPA-free. You can also change things up a bit and opt for fire-roasted tomatoes to add a slightly smoky flavor to your soup.
Cream is a bit of a misnomer in this title, as in fact there is no cream in this recipe. Instead, coconut milk adds a velvety, creamy texture to this soup, miraculously without adding any coconut flavor. This soup is perfect to have on hand for those chilly fall or winter days. Top with some grilled chicken or shrimp to transform it into a one-dish meal. A word of caution: Hot liquids and blenders can be a very dangerous thing! As hot liquids will expand when blended, you want to make sure not to fill up your blender too high, and always cover the lid of the blender with a dish towel, pressing down firmly on the lid, to keep any escaping liquid from splattering all over your kitchen!
- 2 tablespoons oil or cooking fat of choice
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
- One 28-ounce can crushed, diced or whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano or home canned are best!)
- 11⁄2 cups chicken stock (use vegetable stock if making vegetarian)
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil, plus 1 tablespoon for garnishing
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- In a large Dutch oven or soup pot that is already hot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, and sauté until just about translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more.
- Mix in the remaining ingredients, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
- Carefully pour a cup or two of the soup mixture into a blender (until it is only halfway full) and puree until smooth. Remove to a separate soup pot or container, and repeat with the remaining soup mixture, working in batches. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender to puree the soup mixture.
- Serve hot, topped with some minced basil for garnish.