The Best Tomato Soup

A soothing, creamy homemade tomato soup just like the canned counterpart of your childhood, but infinitely better. Not harsh or acidic like many tomato soups, just perfectly comforting.
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Ok let me preface this by saying I know "the best" is a terribly presumptuous way to describe a recipe (although I'm guilty of it all too often).  It's because when I'm super enthused about a recipe like this one, I want to make sure you don't just dismiss it as another boring old tomato soup recipe. 

I make it about once every two weeks all fall and winter, but my own personal preferences aside, this creamy tomato soup from the archives has been kicking around for years and is loved by anyone who tries it. It is just like Campbell's canned tomato soup, except exponentially better. 

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You know how homemade (and restaurant) tomato soups can often be too harsh and acidic, and/or too much like thinned out marinara sauce? Just not at all like the comforting bowl you'd dip your gooey grilled cheese in from the can that your mother lovingly heated up for you on chilly days when you were a kid?  This soup is everything those lesser soups is not.  Creamy (but not cloying, actually it has no cream). Mild and soothing. Perfect balance of tomato and dairy. Acidity cut by a secret pinch of baking soda. 

And, guys, comfort in any form is in high demand around here. In a single day last weekend, my one-year-old accomplished the following: stuck the tip of his finger in an electric socket in our building lobby (the only ones in his life's radius not safety-plugged), ripped a leaf from a poisonous plant, tugged the electric cord of a heavy lamp and very nearly pulled it onto his head, ate playdoh, ate an earplug, ate lipstick, ate a business card, ate something mysterious he found on the floor of the parking garage (which he appeared to enjoy), and got his sweet, chubby hand stuck in the elevator door, resulting in a trip to the hospital for X-rays. 

Re: the last, he's fine, no broken bones, just a bit tender - but I'm still a little shaken up. (We were inside the elevator and he put his hand flat on the door just before it opened, then as the door slid into the doorframe, it sucked his hand in with it and we couldn't get it out. Very scary. Don't let your kids touch the door, k?) 

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See here?  I even captured evidence of him tugging down a tablecloth laden with hot soup.  Let's just move on before I start anyone calls out my parenting skills. 

If you're wondering why it is so orange, it is because I have super high-power Pro Vitamix - it blasts my soups to silky smoothness, and the air it whips in lightens the colour quite a bit. That's why.  I decided to run with the Halloween vibe and sprinkled it with black salt.  Some moody flowers, and boom! Spooky soup. (Soupky? Spouky? Nah, doesn't work.)

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  • 6Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk (preferably whole)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (include the juice if using canned; if using fresh and you have a good blender, no need to peel them)
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • salt, to taste (I use about 2 tsp kosher salt, but it really depends if the butter and tomatoes had salt)

Preparation

  • Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and translucent (not browned), about 6 minutes. Stir in flour, cook one minute, then gradually whisk in milk. Add baking soda, tomatoes and sugar. Simmer 10 minutes, then blend (either with an immersion blender, or in small batches in a regular blender - careful, hot liquids will explode out if you overfill!). Add salt by pinches, tasting as you go until soup tastes vibrant and well-seasoned.