I’ve always found it odd that taste – in particular, taste in relation to food – can change so much over time. I wasn’t a fan of tomato soup as a kid. I would eat it, but I’d much rather have a different kind. Something creamier, like Cream of Broccoli or Cream of Mushroom. Or, better yet, French Onion, which was always my favourite.
Now, though, I find myself craving tomato soup once in a while. But never on its own, always with either cheese or – more often – a grilled cheese sandwich. And I figured, hey, if I’m craving it, why not just make my own so that I can freeze it and not have to worry about having cans of it on hand?
I’m sure you’ve figured out by now where this is heading. I wanted a recipe for tomato soup, so I found one. Then I played with it so that it was something I truly enjoyed and could easily make with things I tend to have in my cupboard.
The recipe I started with was The Kitchn’s Cream of Tomato Soup. It looked fairly simple to me, and it called for ingredients that I like. Really, the only problems were that I tend not to have celery in my fridge and there were a couple of other flavours I wanted to incorporate.
So, I played. I used celery salt instead of the celery and added dried garlic. I also switched the 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes in puree for a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes without the puree. The lack of puree meant a slightly thinner soup, but I was still able to get some nice tomato chunks by not fully blending everything. Besides, I don’t like when my tomato soups are too thick, so the lack of puree really worked for me.
Then, of course, I added cheddar cheese.
The soup I ended up with was wonderful. The whole thing was easy to make, and it was ready within about 30 to 45 minutes, making it a great weeknight meal. Plus, it froze really well, so any soup that was left over won’t go to waste.
And the flavour? Well, I loved the flavour. The tomato wasn’t too strong, but it was still very much a tomato soup. The spices, too, were well balanced, and I found I didn’t need to add much salt and pepper before eating.
Oh, and I don’t want you thinking the cheese is just a garnish. It actually adds a wonderful bit of flavour to the soup. But I do recommend not adding it until the soup is being served, as you don’t want it to completely disappear within the soup.
Tomato Cheddar Soup
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
- Pinch ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons flour
- One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- Pinch baking soda
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- Salt, pepper and shredded cheddar cheese, to taste
- At medium heat, melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add the onion and cook until the onion starts to turn translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook for about a minute, then add the remainder of the spices. Let cook for another a minute.
- Add the flour and stir for two minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, baking soda and chicken stock.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and puree, using a hand blender or regular blender, until you’ve reached the consistency you like.
- Return the pot to the heat and stir in the milk. Make sure to stir well so that the milk blends into the soup.
- Heat the soup to your desired temperature. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Dish out the soup and dropped the desired amount of cheddar cheese on top of each bowl. Serve.