Growing up, there were very few foods everyone in our family unanimously agreed to love. (Bless my mom.) Besides loving ice-cream, the only time everyone in the Meek family came around the table and got excited about dinner was when a pot of soup took center stage. Chili, taco soup, potato soup, tomato soup, you name it — everyone was happy and full after soup nights. Our family bonds over filling up big bowls and crushing crackers, sprinkling cheese, dipping grilled cheeses and scooping tortilla chips until every bite is gone — then filling up our bowls again.
One of my moms go-to’s when the fridge felt empty and she didn’t have time to make a big dinner was to heat cans of tomato soup and start buttering bread for grilled cheeses. One of the most comforting meals and one that was bound to please. I think she learned from the best. She told me this was exactly what Louise used to do when she didn’t have time to fix a big lunch on Sundays after church. My parents would go over to my grandmother’s house for lunch and she would fix tomato soup and grilled cheeses for everyone to eat.
The simple and comforting power of soup and the way it can satisfy so many stomachs — especially of the people I love most is one of the reasons I most love fall. Not to mention I love throwing everything delicious in a pot and using crusty bread as a utensil for eating — that is my kind of meal. So, in celebration of fall and eating one of the most comforting foods of all, I give you Roasted Tomato Soup — it’s quite a step up from the soup you’ll pour out of a can and surprisingly not much harder. Buy the best tomatoes you can find, roast them up, call some people you love and tell them soup and grilled cheeses are on the menu. I promise it will be delicious in more ways than one.
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the tomatoes onion into wedges. (Use your fingers to push out the seedy parts of the tomatoes. This is not a deal breaker, just get out the bigger seedy parts.) Spread them on a baking sheet.
2. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle the salt, a good amount of pepper, chopped parsley and gently toss it with your hands. Tuck the garlic cloves somewhere inside of a tomato, so they don't burn. Roast on the middle rack for 30-40 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down to about half their size. Remove and cool slightly.
3. Warm the broth and stir in the tomato paste to dissolve. Add the ingredients from the roasting pan into the broth and let it gently simmer for 5-10 minutes. Use an immersion blender, food processor or blender to puree the soup. (The soup should be smooth, with some texture.) Return soup back to the pot, and add the cream or half & half. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Garnish with basil or oregano and serve with crusty bread or make a grilled cheese to help eat up all the goodness!
A few things:
- This recipe only makes two bowls, so I doubled this recipe — that's why it may look like a lot more veggies and a larger pot than if you were making soup for two. In Louise fashion, I made this soup after church with grilled cheese for my family. (They are the best taste testers and were especially willing to try my soup on one of the first cooler falls days this year!)
- This soup can only be as delicious as the tomatoes that you use — so don't skimp out and pick sub-par ones! The more flavorful tomatoes the better — if you have a friend with a garden or a local farmer's market this is the time to take advantage.
- Grilled cheeses are everything to me in general but specifically with tomato soup, don't miss this prime opportunity to dip every bite of your sandwich into your bowl. (Spoons are optional.)
- Enjoy is on a crisp fall day and please feed a bowl full to at least one other person you love!