We can make this comfort soup entirely with items in our pantry, or dress it up with leftovers from the refrigerator.
Whether living under a Stay Home order by the state, or just looking for an easy dinner on a day when there was no time to shop, this is a handy recipe to have in your arsenal, is easily made non-dairy and vegan, is naturally gluten, soy, and nut free! It’s also one of our favorite comfort foods.
Tomato soup! We all love it, whether straight up or with embellishments. We’re trying really hard to be cognizant of what is in our refrigerators and how we can cook to reduce waste of our precious food resources. After making the basic soup, survey what you have on hand to see if there is anything you can use up here. Rice would be nice (Chinese take-out leftovers?), any fresh tomatoes that are hovering on the verge of going too soft, or even a bit of left-over pasta. Swap out the herbs for what you have on hand. It’s all good here! What do you like?
A lingering memory
About 10 years ago, I had a lovely lunch at a restaurant in Amherst, Mass. They served a simple tomato soup with artichokes which was out of this world. I worked on the recipe a long time, and finally came up with this version which is pretty much the way I remembered it! Now, I never have left-over artichokes, but a whole can or box is a good sacrifice here.
The Parmesan rind adds delightful flavor to this soup. I always tuck the rind in the freezer after the wedge is finished and bring it out for soup or homemade pasta sauce, another nod to using every scrap of a food.
Make it work
I had fire roasted canned tomatoes on hand, but if you cannot find them, use any favorite canned tomato. I’ve used just water here for the liquid, but if you have opened stock in the refrigerator that you need to use up, then toss it in.
If you want to make cream of tomato soup, at the end stir in milk or cream of choice, dairy or plant based. I think the flavor is more intense without the creamy element, but that’s just me!
In the summer, I would use fresh tomatoes, but in March in New England, this is the only way to go.
Fire Roasted Tomato & Artchoke Soup
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 6-oz can tomato paste
- 1 28-oz can fire roasted tomatoes, no salt added
- 2 cups tomato juice, no salt added
- ½ tsp. sugar
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Parmesan rind, optional
- 1 can artichoke hearts, or box frozen, minced
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan or vegan alternative, optional
- 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
In a soup pot, heat the olive oil until shimmering and add the onion.
Sauté for a few minutes until the onion is softened and fragrant, with just a touch of color and a little glaze on the pan.
Add the garlic, paprika, basil, and tomato paste. Continue stirring until the tomato paste has darkened and the garlic is fragrant. The aroma is delightful!
Immediately add the fire-roasted tomatoes and all their juices. and the tomato juice. Stir well, and fill the tomato paste and diced tomato cans with water to extract everything possible from them, stirring them up with a spoon to get out every bit. It’s amazing what this will yield. My mom always did this, and so have I. You’ll want about a quart of water in total, more or less.
Add the sugar, salt and pepper to taste, and the Parmesan rind if using.
Bring to a boil, cover loosely, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes, the last 10 minutes uncovered. Remove the rind when soup is done.
Puree with an immersion or standard blender and add the chopped up artichokes, Parmesan or substitute, and let simmer just a few more minutes.
Now, if you have fresh basil, by all means, rip that up and throw it in the pot as well!
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