Last week I got a shipment of Londoner cheese – a sharp, tangy cheddar – just begging to be melted. When I asked Andy what I should make, he said he had a craving for grilled cheese with tomato soup. I checked our Three Many Cooks archives for a simple tomato soup recipe, and though we have a few variations we had never posted a recipe for a simple one. That night I just winged it. I made a good tomato soup, but for the blog I really wanted it to be great. Next time Mom and I got together we worked on it.
We wanted a recipe that could be made quickly and with a few ingredients most every home cook has on hand. Our base was incredibly simple: oil, an onion, garlic, canned crushed tomatoes, a can of coconut milk, maple syrup, salt and pepper to taste. We agreed that it tasted like a delicious, homemade version of classic Heinz or Campbell’s tomato soup. The maple syrup gives it that slight sweetness and the coconut milk keeps it creamy, but healthy and without the chance of curdling.
Next time I may add a little basil, a tablespoon of curry powder, or a pinch of dried chiles, but from here on out this will be my master recipe for tomato soup.
As-Simple-As-It-Gets Homemade Tomato Soup
Makes a generous quart
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomato
1 cup canned coconut milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Salt and ground black pepper
Heat oil in a large saucepan or small Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic, cook until fragrant, a minute or so longer. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer; reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer to blend flavors, about 10 minutes.
Pour soup into a blender; puree, making sure to vent blender by removing pop-out center, and draping a kitchen towel over the top, until creamy smooth, 30 seconds to a minute. Return to pan and add coconut milk and maple syrup; reheat to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning, including salt if it needs it and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve.