October 17, 2011

creamy tomato soup

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I have a secret pleasure. One that I am about to announce to the internet.

I… ready for this?

Love… brace yourself…

Okay, here goes…

Campbell’s Tomato Soup.

Yep, the condensed kind that glops into the pot still in the shape of the can. I don’t want to know what’s in it. Unfortunately I do know what’s in it: high fructose corn syrup, “flavouring” and a truck load of sodium.

Nonetheless, no other tomato soup could rival that red and white can for the perfect comfort food accompaniment to a gooey grilled cheese.

Until now. Cue dramatic sound effect.

Dun dun dun.

I finally found the perfect homemade tomato soup. Creamy but not overly so. Tomato-y but not acidic. It is comforting and perfect.

I have ventured many attempts at finding a tomato soup I like. I’ve tried roasting the tomatoes. Tomato soup thickened with bread crumbs. Tomato soup with canned tomatoes. Tomato soup with fresh tomatoes. Tomato soup with heavy cream. Tomato soup with Indian spices.

I think the reason I have curled my nose up at every previous attempted tomato soup, is because they are simply too harsh. I felt like I was eating thin marinara sauce by the spoonful. That acidic brightness is welcome when contrasted with bland pasta or other ingredients to round it out, but it isn’t what I want in a tomato soup. This is why I’ve always loved the sweet, mild flavour of the canned stuff.

I really hesitated before trying yet another tomato soup recipe. But this one was so different. It is thickened with flour, the acidity of the tomatoes is curbed by baking soda, and there is almost as much milk as there are tomatoes.

I know, you’re skeptical. I don’t blame you. Flour and baking soda in soup?

Just trust me on this, okay?

You can use fresh or canned tomatoes, I have used both with great results. If using fresh, you start by dropping scored* tomatoes in boiling water to peel them easily.

You then saute some onions, just until translucent. The flavour should be mild – no browning.

You then add flour and cook out the starch, then whisk in milk, tomatoes, baking soda and a bit of sugar. The baking soda keeps the acid from curdling the milk in addition to mellowing out the flavour. The sugar enhances the sweetness of the tomatoes.

Simmer 10 minutes or so, then puree with an immersion (or regular standing) blender. It couldn’t be simpler or faster.

*X their bottoms with a paring knife.

You may have noticed that there is no garlic added, not a basil leaf to be found. And before you’re tempted to add them, just trust me.

I tried both ways. Without the added frills is simplicity, perfected.

You could splurge and use cream rather than milk, but I find milk makes it lovely and creamy without being rich.

I first made this soup months ago, and have since perfected it to my liking adoration.

This soup has the mellow, soothing characteristic I always craved in a homemade tomato soup, and the flavour is so much better.

I don’t think I will ever buy another red and white can again.


Inspired by this recipe.



creamy tomato soup

This creamy, comforting homemade tomato soup recipe tastes mild like your favourite canned version except so much better. A favourite recipe. 

Course Soup
Cuisine Canadian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6
Author Jennifer Pallian


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup diced onion from 1 small, or 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups tomatoes peeled if using fresh, include the juice if using canned
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • salt to taste (I used about 2 teaspoons of coarse sea salt)


  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened and translucent (not browned). Stir in flour, cook one minute, then stir 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 properly seasoned.
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