REAL Tomato Soup

I know a lot of people out there who grow tomatoes in their gardens.  This is the time of year where we have tomatoes overflowing and the stewing/canning process begins.  It is a battle with seemingly no end..  Blanching tomatoes.  Pealing tomatoes.  Stewing tomatoes.  Crushing tomatoes.  Straining tomatoes..... tedious, and so not what anyone wants to be doing in these last days of summer weather, but it must be done. 

Well..  what about the leftovers.  Skins and strained juices most often get tossed.  I suppose we got what we wanted, so who really cares..  but how about a couple extra treats? 

Now, as far as I have been told, my Italian great grandmother (who passed on long before I was even a thought), used to take the skins and rub them against a grater to collect all the last bits of pulp still clinging to the inner skin. This is tomato paste, done the real way.  I made a half assed attempt at this once, and didn't really accomplish much other than a messy grater.  I suppose with some diligence and practice I could accomplish this culinary endeavour, but really...  I'm only so ambitious. 

The strained off juice on the other hand is a simple byproduct, and you're going to end up with it no matter what.. So why not use it?  I take this "tomato water" and turn it into tomato soup.  It ends up with a flavor along the lines of what you would get from a can, but obviously so much better!

I start with 3-4 cups "tomato water" in a medium sized, heavy bottomed sauce pan. 

Bring the juice to a low boil and add the following:

1tbs chicken bouillon
1tbs tomato paste (not necessarily made by hand)
1tsp onion powder
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp paprika powder
a large pinch whole dried savory leaves
a dash of celery seed
and a dash of red pepper flakes

Reduce to a simmer for about a half hour to let the flavors come out.  I then make a roux with 2tbs melted butter and 1tbs flour and whisk into the soup to thicken and give it a nice glaze.  I give it one more boil and then it's done.  Short and simple. 

I like it served with cheesy fish crackers to really bring home the comfort food quality. 

Definitely a good use of something that would otherwise just be tossed away. 

Of course, the seasonings don't have to be exact, flavor it as you like..  try some oregano or basil for a more Italian flare, or perhaps a touch of cumin and fresh cilantro for a more Mexican taste..  My mother likes to add fresh basil and touch of cream at the end. 

Try it for yourself and see what you come up with.


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