Remember those tomatoes I said were sitting on my counter? The ones who were waiting, rather impatiently, to become something...anything, in fact, other than the pile of rotten tomatoes that my procrastination was leading them to? Well, they became soup. Quite a luscious soup, I might add.
I wanted a really hearty soup, thick and creamy, but with chunks of something to make it more of a meal. I started out using my grandmother's old chinois on the tomatoes, but didn't like how thin the soup was looking, so the last half of the tomatoes I simply peeled and crushed. In the end, it was a good combination.
Cream of Tomato Bacon Soup:
4 pounds fresh tomatoes (I suppose you could use 1/2 canned crushed or diced tomatoes and 1/2 tomato juice ~ about 29 ounces each)
1/4 cup minced dried onion (if you use fresh, saute it in some olive oil first)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 Tbsp honey
1 cup cream (or 1 cup evaporated milk)
slurry of flour & water (about 1/3 cup total)
1 cup bacon cooked, diced before cooking
If starting with fresh tomatoes, blanch them in boiling water and peel. Add the next 8 ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes uncovered. Stir periodically to prevent sticking. (At this point I used an immersion blender to improve the texture). Add the slurry of flour and water, stirring constantly until the soup thickens. Add the cream and bacon, heat through (but don't boil) and serve immediately. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese if desired.
After I made this soup, I realized I could have used a leek instead of the onion...and it would have been a BLT soup. It's a little corny, but it would taste really good. If you choose this route, chop it and saute it in some olive oil before adding it to the tomatoes at the beginning of the cooking process.