Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Late Season Tomato Veggie Soup

This is the time of year when the weather has taken a turn for the cooler side, but we still have some remaining summer produce at the local market.  This recipe is the perfect way to make the most of both of these situations.  Warm, comforting soup that is hearty and filled with flavor and nutrients, but features beautiful late summer tomatoes.

It is hard to resist making tomato soup during the summer, but in southern California, the summers are not so conducive to soup.  Now that we have nice cool fall weather, I'm giving tomato soup one last hurrah in my kitchen, combined with sweet carrots and licorice-y fennel.

This soup is simple and vitamin-packed.  Another one to add to the list for cold season.

Late Season Tomato Veggie Soup
adapted from Deborah Madison's Local Flavors
serves 3-4


2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
3 small leeks OR scallions, thinly sliced
3 medium sized carrots, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
1 small fennel bulb, cored and finely diced
2 tablespoons diced pimientos
pinch saffron threads
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
4 medium sized ripe tomatoes, preferably heirloom if available
salt and freshly ground pepper
chopped dill or basil for garnish


1.  Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat.  Add leeks, carrots, fennel, pimientos, saffron, garlic, and parsley.  Stir and cook for about 1 minute.  Add 2/3 cup water and cover the pot.  Turn heat to low.

2.  Meanwhile, peel the tomatoes (plunge in boiling water first if necessary) and squeeze out the seeds into a mesh strainer over a bowl to catch all the juices.  Place remainder of tomatoes in a food processor.  Use a spoon to press the juices out of the seeds through the mesh strainer.  Discard seeds, and add juices to the food processor.  Puree until smooth.

3.  By now, the vegetables should be getting tender.  Add the pureed tomatoes and salt to taste.  Puree about half the soup until smooth.  You can puree it all if you wish, but I think it's nice to leave some vegetable chunks for texture.  Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.   Season to taste with salt and pepper as necessary

4.  Serve soup garnished with fresh herbs of choice. 


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