Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Salsa and Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

With the abundance of garden tomatoes this time of year, I thought it appropriate to share a couple of our favorite tomato based recipes: Aunt Abby's Salsa and Ina Garten's Creamy Tomato Basil Soup.

Aunt Abby's Salsa 
     (We like this salsa so much that it's just about the only salsa we eat.)

Total prep time: 10 min.

(We often half the recipe as the salsa will only keep for a couple of weeks). But for a party or if you are big salsa eaters, make the whole thing!)

2 14 oz can tomatoes, slightly drained, or 28 oz of fresh tomatoes
2 serrano chilies, diced (take out the seeds or some seeds if you prefer a more mild salsa)
1/4 bunch of cilantro
1/4 of a white or yellow onion, chopped
1/2 of a lemon, juiced (we also love lime juice - use a whole lime)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar

Mix all ingredients in a blender (we found the food processor does a great job for a chunkier salsa). Pulse until well blended and cilantro is chopped. For the best flavor, refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.

Ina Garten's Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup.

John and I saw Ina Garten make this soup a couple of years ago and gave it a whirl. It nearly took us all afternoon the first time because we went shopping for a food mill, which didn't end up working anyway. We now just use a food processor and it seems to work well. We continue to make this soup every year as it is quite delicious!  If you discover any improvements though, we want to hear about them. 

Total Time:
1 hr 15 min
15 min
1 hr 0 min

5 to 6 servings
  • Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red onions (2 onions)
  • 2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped (5 large)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves, plus julienned basil leaves, for garnish
  • 3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Croutons, for garnish


Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.

Add the cream to the soup and process it through a food mill into a bowl, discarding only the dry pulp that's left. Reheat the soup over low heat just until hot and serve with julienned basil leaves and/or croutons.

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