I don't know about you, but where I live, those telltale signs of approaching fall are in the air. A slight chill in the evening, a certain smell to the air, and even the odd urge to make soup with my bumper crop of tomatoes has been creeping up on me.
It's for that reason that I thought I'd introduce a couple of soup recipes this week. That and the fact that my latest cookbook, 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker (Andrews McMeel, 2011), is due to be released next month. Although there is no meat used in my recipes, the word "vegetarian" doesn't appear in the book title. That's because I can't think of any reason why meat-eating should continue to be the "default setting" of the American diet. We'll see what happens!
Real Cream of Tomato Soup
Practically every person I know ate Campbell's Tomato Soup with grilled cheese sandwiches when they were growing up. Cream of tomato soup has recently enjoyed a resurgence of "retro" popularity, with upscale restaurants offering their versions on their menus. Here's a super easy and delicious version.
2-3 pounds tomatoes
½ medium onion, coarsely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic
1 cup cream (or soy cream)
chili flakes (optional)
4 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
Place the tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a 6-7 quart slow cooker. (If you don't have a slow cooker, you can just as easily make these soup recipes in a pot or Dutch over following the same instructions. Just watch it closely so nothing burns or boils over.) Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours, until the tomatoes are soft and falling apart. Using a handheld immersion blender, puree the mixture until the desired texture has been achieved. Stir in cream and add salt to taste. If needed, you can add additional water. Add chile flakes to taste and serve each bowl garnished with a sprinkle of basil strips.
Swedish Rhubarb Raspberry Soup
I love the tart flavor of rhubarb in just about anything: pies, tarts, cobblers, and in this case, soup. You can serve this a starter, a main course, or even as a dessert course. Try it hot, cold or even room temperature. And should you have any left over, try it as a sauce over ice cream or yogurt.
2 pounds fresh or frozen rhubarb, sliced
6 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 (10 ounce) package frozen raspberries or the same amount of fresh raspberries
½ cup sour cream, whipped cream or Greek style yogurt
honey for drizzling
ground cinnamon for sprinkling (optional)
Place the rhubarb, water and sugar in a large slow cooker (or pot or Dutch oven for stove top version). Cook on low for about 6 hours or until the rhubarb has "melted."
Using a handheld immersion blender, puree some or all of the rhubarb to your preferred texture. Add the raspberries and cook for 30 minutes longer, or until the soup is once again hot.
Serve the soup warm in bowls topped with a dollop or sour cream, whipped cream or yogurt, a sprinkling of cinnamon, and a drizzle of honey.
photo courtesy of Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC