Fresh Tomato Soup and Corn Chowder

Fall gets me thinking soupy thoughts, if you hadn’t noticed. I love pulling up to the table with a big bowl of something steaming hot, a thick slice of fresh, buttered bread, and a great book to browse while I sip away. When I’m serving soup for supper, I tend to do meatier, slow-cooked stews and the like. But these two pleased my supper crowd, and they’re both easy to make within 30 minutes or so.

Fresh Tomato Soup

pa100067.JPGIngredients:
5 tomatoes
1 onion
5 cloves of garlic
6 T. butter
6 cups (49 ounces) chicken or vegetable stock
10 ounce can tomato paste
3/4 cup whole milk, cream, or half and half

Method:

Prepare vegetables: Dice the tomatoes. Peel the onion and dice. Peel the garlic and mince.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a deep saute pan. Add the onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until fragrant; add the tomatoes. Cook until onions are tender and tomatoes are “melted.” Remove from heat. If you have a immersion blender, use it to puree the soup. If not, just mush it up with the back of a spoon.

Pour the tomato mixture through a sieve or strainer, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids. Pour the liquid into a stock pot and add the chicken or vegetable stock.

In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato paste and the milk until blended. Add to the soup and stir until completely combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Dice the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and add to the soup. When butter is melted, swirl into the soup and serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions:

Fresh crusty bread, baquettes, or bread sticks and butter.
Serve it in bread bowls.
Hot cheese toast on the side.
Top with diced chives, a dollop of sour cream, and crumbled bacon for the BLT version.
Serve over freshly cooked rice or pasta for a heartier but still vegetarian version.

————————————————-

Corn Chowder

p9280001.jpgIngredients:

3 ears corn, kernels cut from cob
5 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 can of creamed corn
3 – 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 – 2 cups milk
Cooked, crumbled bacon

Method:

Melt the butter in a large stock pot and add the fresh corn and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant and lightly browned and corn is beginning to get tender.

Add the creamed corn and stock. Bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let bubble away on simmer for 15 minutes or so. (Go set the table, empty the dishwasher, feed the dog, check the mail, see what’s new at Kitchen Craft…).

Just before serving, add the milk and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Stir to combine and keep over heat until warmed through. Remove from heat and serve immediately with crumbled bacon on top.

Serving Suggestions:
Add 2 diced, cooked potatoes.
Add diced, cooked leftover chicken.
Substitute 1 1/2 cups frozen whole kernel corn for fresh, if necessary.
Vary the ratio of stock to milk as you like. Use 4 cups stock and 2 cups milk for a “soupier” soup. Use 3 cups stock and 1 cup milk for a thicker version. Or use 3 cups milk and 1 cup stock for a much creamier version, just be sure to allow time for milk to heat through and don’t allow it to scald.
I don’t know why, but a fresh green salad with hard-boiled egg seems right with this soup.
Add 1 onion, diced, and 2 stalks celery, diced, and 1 bell pepper, diced, to the garlic-and-corn saute for a heartier soup.
Eliminate the bacon for a vegetarian version. Top with diced chives and tomatoes instead.
Eliminate the bacon, use olive oil instead of butter (eliminate the extra 2 tablespoons at the end) and soy milk for a vegan version.