Summer isn’t usually the time of year that people are busting out the soup recipes. I realize that. But, it is the time of year for squash and tomatoes, so let’s make an exception.
Tomato Soup is one of my favorite comfort foods. I have memories of being at camp as a kid on a rainy summer day, eating grilled cheese and tomato soup in the dining hall. (That’s one of the few good memories I have of camp… I wasn’t much of a camper.) It wasn’t just camp, or even just during childhood. This has always been one of my favorite meals. It brings with it a wave of nostalgia, but it’s also a quick and easy meal that packs in fruits, veggies, grains, and protein (if you add the grilled cheese).
I started it off with some summer squash and salt. Simple and easy. I added some hot peppers (I used half a jalapeño and a whole Hungarian hot pepper, both without their ribs and seeds) and garlic. Everyone cooks away for a little while.
If you have tons of tomatoes on hand, this would be a great time to use them. You’d want to cook for longer, but, it’d be great. I don’t yet have an abundance of tomatoes. My garden holds the promise of things to come with plenty of green tomatoes. But, they’re not ready quite yet. The tomatoes that we’ve gotten in our Abundant Harvest Organics box are precious and I like to use them raw, on sandwiches, to top potato salad, or as a simple side. So this time I’ve used canned tomatoes. I think both ways would be great. You could also roast the tomatoes like I did on the show a few years ago. Lots of options here.
Since basil and tomatoes are pretty much best friends, I added a ton. Doesn’t matter what color – purple, green, lemon basil… just as long as it’s fresh.
You could leave the soup chunky if you wish. But, I like my tomatoey soups to be smooth, so I blended it up. I learned the hard way that if you’re not using an immersion (or hand) blender (so a regular blender) that it’s imperative that you take the lid’s plug out and cover the hole with a clean tea towel. If you leave the plug in, it will most likely (at least in my experience) fall in and get blended up. This will mean not just ruined soup (sad), but a big mess (annoying), and soup splattering all over you (ouch). Learn from me, friends. Take out the plug. 😉
If you’re planning to enjoy the whole pot of soup the day of, you’re golden. If you end up with leftovers or just want to make it ahead of time and pop it in the freezer, you need to cool it down quickly before it goes into the fridge. So, here’s a trick: To cool the soup down quickly, add only 2 C stock when cooking. Then after it’s cooked, add 1 C frozen stock or ice and stir in to cool down. When it’s cooled down, put it in the fridge to cool completely before freezing.
I like to store things in the freezer in smaller containers so that I’m not defrosting a large container for just one or two portions. Each container gets a label with the name, date, and number of people it will serve. To defrost, pop it into the fridge overnight. Or, just add it frozen to a soup pot with a bit of water or stock in the bottom and reheat.
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 C summer squash, roughly chopped
- to taste salt
- 1/2 to 1 1/2 hot peppers (depending on what type), ribs and seeds removed, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- to taste salt
- to taste pepper
- pinch ginger
- 2 C crushed tomatoes (or tomato puree)
- 3 C stock or water
- 1 T rice vinegar
- 1 T maple syrup
- 1/2 C fresh basil, chopped
- Heat a soup pot over medium-low. Add oil. Add squash and salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add hot pepper and cook for 2 minutes. add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add tomatoes through maple syrup. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or until veggies are tender.
- Remove from heat and add basil. Blend with a hand blender (or in batches in a regular blender, with the lid's plug removed and the hole covered with a clean tea towel) for 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.