I like fresh tomatoes so much that I usually grow a few more plants than I need in my home garden. In August, when a glut of ripe tomatoes need picking and quick use, I like to make this Fast and Easy variation of “ Quick Tomato Soup ” from Irma Rombauer’s wonderful book, The Joy of Cooking. Her original recipe is good, but a touch of spice and a hint of garlic/oregano brings the soup to another level.
In the food processor, whiz 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes (use any kind, raw), 1 stick of celery with leaves, 1 small clove of garlic, and ½ onion, sliced. Work to a smooth paste.
Bring this to a simmer in a medium saucepan, and cover, simmering, for 15 minutes. Strain the resulting juices through a sieve and set aside.
In a larger pot, create a roux by melting 2 Tbsp butter and mixing in 2 Tbsp flour. Cook over low heat until the flour/butter mixture is bubbling. With a whisk in constant motion, slowly add 2 cups stock – vegetable stock will work, but beef stock tastes better.
Whisk until smooth. Then add the strained tomato mixture, and keep whisking over medium heat.
Add ½ tsp sugar, 1/8 tsp paprika, 1/8 tsp cayenne, and a pinch of dried oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste.
When serving, add 1 Tbsp torn (not chopped) fresh basil leaves to each bowl. Serve hot with bread.
This recipe serves about 4 small bowls of soup. It looks just like canned tomato soup, but tastes astronomically better. The whole recipe takes about 25 minutes to make and it freezes well. Double all ingredients for a larger batch.