Every once in a while, we come across some amazing edible thing and proceed to gracefully become addicted – to THOSE salt + pepper potato chips, THEIR vegan scones, THAT roasted chicken. Much like any substance addiction, there are four phases we experience; we experiment, become regular users, sometimes the use becomes risky and a little abusive (like with THESE sea salt caramels) before we become completely dependent on having that delicious thing in our world on the regular. THE amazing roasted tomato soup is a great example of an addiction so good, we had to become our own supplier.
If I recall correctly, we found The Soup one fateful and freezing winter afternoon here in Portland when we ran into the grocery store looking for some satisfying lunch – still in our actual running clothes and starving from a long run. We grabbed everything that looked good; fresh warm bread, some salad greens, probably, hot chocolate and one of those pre-packed soup containers filled with the roasty-est, creamiest, most satisfying tomato soup that we’d had in a long time. It was like soup crack. The container was so small, Derek and I found ourselves silently trying to out-eat the other so we could have the last slurps of The herby, savory Soup for ourselves. It was perfectly hilarious. And delicious. The Soup popped into the shopping cart, then, just about every time I went to that particular market in the months/year to come. Every once in a while, I’d make a somewhat lame attempt to recreate it but it was never the same. Then, we moved to California and lost track of The Soup altogether.
We’re back in Portland now – for the time being – and, just this weekend, stumbled into a market wet, cold and hungry. Derek had something of an epiphany and went hunting for The Soup, returning to our shopping cart with an imposter in pre-pack. Since I’m the Minister of Wellbeing and the Gatekeeper of Ingredients around here, I swooped it out of his hands to read the ingredients (Oooh! Look! Tomatoes, cheese, milk, cream, and a whole buncha other crap I can’t pronounce!) We left the store soup-less, but I had a a couple of ideas.
After so many lame attempts on my part, Derek said it couldn’t be done; the re-creation of The Soup, that is. But, oh baby, where there’s a will there’s a way (and this way won’t require any of those un-pronouncables!) So, a few tips: pick the most ripe tomatoes that you can find. If you have a supply of CSA, farm-stand, or backyard tomatoes, now is the time to use them; even though the roasting impacts the flavor of the tomatoes, your soup will only be as good as the tomatoes you choose. The same is true of the herbs + spices; this soup was special to make because I got to employ a few of the spices that I sent back from our recent trip to Istanbul (if you can get your hands on some wild Turkish thyme, this is the recipe to use it!) Buy the best herbs you can find, and certainly, if you feel you want more Herbes de Provence, more oregano, salt, pepper, thyme, whathaveyou, go for it!
One other tip that I gathered from Heidi Swanson, that inspiratrix; this recipe does call for two cans of diced tomatoes and some of you might be concerned about the BPA liners. By choosing to use tomatoes packed in glass jars, you avoid the BPA-liner. Muir Glen also has switched to non-BPA liners but they don’t label the cans so be sure to grab a pair that have expiration dates in 2015 or so….these cans are the likeliest to have the new liner. You could also probably triple the amount of tomatoes you’re roasting to substitute for the cans….!