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Categories: Soups, Vegetarian

Fresh tomato soup

Fresh tomato soup
Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

The best way to enjoy a ripe red (or yellow or orange or purple or green) tomato is to stand next to a vine overflowing with sun-warmed fruit, find one that almost falls into your hand, and savor it right ... Read more

Total time: 55 minutes | Makes 8 to 10 cups
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 shallots, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and minced
  • 1 stalk celery with leaves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fennel bulb
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (or more to taste)
  • 3 pounds mixed ripe tomatoes, diced with juices reserved
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tablespoon gin
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 to 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup cream, optional
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 large basil leaves, sliced crosswise into thin ribbons, for garnish

Step 1In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onion, shallots, carrot, celery and fennel and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute until aromatic.

Step 2Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, along with the lemon juice, sugar, paprika, gin and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato liquid reduces and the mixture has thickened slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly.

Step 3Transfer the vegetables, in batches, to a blender jar and puree until smooth, then return to the pot. Add the broth, one cup at a time, until the soup reaches desired consistency, stirring to thoroughly combine.

Step 4Bring the soup to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add the cream if desired and adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and black pepper. Garnish each serving with basil.

Variations

Middle Eastern: Omit the cream and basil. Add one-fourth to one-half cup of cooked rice to each bowl. To serve, top with chopped mint and a dollop of plain yogurt.

Moroccan: Omit the cream and basil. Add 1 tablespoon each of fresh grated ginger and ground cinnamon when cooking the vegetables. To serve, top with chopped cilantro and diced Moroccan olives.

Latin American: Add 2 teaspoons ground cumin and 1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano when cooking the vegetables. Substitute lime juice for the lemon juice. To serve, top the finished soup with 1 tablespoon of crumbled cotija or grated queso blanco, diced avocado and chopped cilantro.

Each of 10 servings:
95 calories; 2 grams protein; 10 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 5 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 6 mg. cholesterol; 262 mg. sodium.
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