Monday was what I call a “comfort food” day and one of our favorite comfort food lunches is Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese. Keeping with our gardening goals we like to grow food that can be preserved for use later. We make our own tomato soup base and freeze for use on days like yesterday. Here is the recipe for the soup base.
Tomato Soup Base
4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1 sliced onion
4 whole cloves
2 cups chicken broth (homemade is best!)
In a stockpot, over medium heat, combine the tomatoes, onion, cloves and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and gently boil for about 20 minutes to blend all of the flavors. Remove from heat and run the mixture through a food mill into a large bowl, or pan. Discard any stuff left over in the food mill.
Proportion into freezer bags. Remove as much air as possible and seal bag. Soup base can now be frozen for use later.
To make Tomato soup, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a stockpot using medium heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour to make a roux. Continue cooking until the roux is medium brown. Gradually whisk in a bit of the tomato mixture, so no lumps form, then stir in the rest. Season with sugar and salt to taste. Serve with your favorite grated cheese on top and some fresh basil.
Use your favorite flavourful tomatoes. We have used Brandywine, Scotia, and Lemon Boy. Lemon Boy provides for different colour and less acid taste.
Make your favourite grilled cheese to accompany the tomato soup. We use 5 year aged cheddar, sliced baked ham, and tomato jam. (I add an extra tablespoon of tomato jam to the plate for dipping.) The tomato jam is made from our own tomatoes and “put up” for later use. It is great with burgers, sausage, almost anything you can spread it on! Here is the recipe for the Tomato Jam.
Sweet Tomato Jam
6 fresh tomatoes
1 “thumb” (2.5 cm) ginger root grated
4 shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
½ cup brown sugar (125 ml)
½ cup cider vinegar (125 ml)
½ cup water (125 ml)
1 pod Star Anise
Place all ingredients into a saucepan and cook at medium heat until water evaporates. Usually takes 1 to 1½ hours. Continue to cook until jam stage, about another 20 minutes Do a drop test. Put a bit of jam onto a plate and place in refrigerator for two minutes. If the jam sets than the jam is ready. Place in jars and process for 15 minutes.
One small way to enjoy your garden all year around.