For many years, I hated tomato soup. Didn’t like the sound of it, look of it, and certainly wasn’t going to taste any of it. I completely blame Campbell’s for this. All I knew was that tomato soup came from a can and could be diluted with water or milk, neither of which made it taste anything less like Spaghetti-Os. Oddly enough, I did like Spaghetti-Os until I ate them while I was quite sick and, if you know where I’m going with this, you’ll understand that I just could never bring myself to eat them again.
Then, one day, somewhere, the details are lost in a pocket of memory in my brain, I tasted tomato soup that had not originated from a can in a sludgy form. It tasted like tomatoes, with no sweet ketchup-y tang, and it was good. I was hooked and convinced. And now I love it. Especially with a grilled cheese sandwich. There’s nothing better. Really.
You can scour the internet for tomato soup recipes and you’ll find thousands, ranging from complicated to slightly higher than “add water and stir to combine”. But my recipe, from a friend of my Mom’s, if dead simple and so good. Plus, you can make it as chunky or smooth as you like, depending on the tomatoes you put in. I do use canned tomatoes because fresh ones are too watery and it would be too much work to reduce it down. Plus, if you keep tomatoes in the pantry, you can whip this up in no time. It also scales up or down depending on what size can of tomatoes you have. It’s actually pretty hard to mess up.
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. butter
2 c. milk (whole or 2%, but not skim, please)
28 oz. can of tomatoes (crushed, diced, whole, whatever)
salt & pepper
Melt the butter in a pot and add flour to make a roux (floury paste). Cook for about 5 minutes and slowly whisk in the milk. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Garnish with basil and salt and pepper to taste. Done!
I guess if you didn’t want a creamy tomato soup you could replace the milk with some good chicken stock. Don’t forget the grilled cheese sandwich!