2017-10-12 / From The Garden

Late Summer Tomatoes, Autumn Soup

By Cynthia Gibson

An official chill is now in the air. By this time of year, most of you have already put up your tomatoes or made sauce to freeze. Most of your jams are in jars, waiting for the holidays. And it is time to put the summer vegetable garden to bed. What is left is probably a dozen or so tomatoes hanging on the vine to catch the rays of early fall sun.

There are two choices for this last taste of a sun-ripened, garden tomato. Slice and eat them fresh, or bow to the coming chilly winds and make a tomato soup.

If you did not grow paste tomatoes or Italian varieties, heirloom and standard varieties will do. The mélange of vegetables placed into boiling water is as old as cooking itself.

This is a simple, yet flavorful soup that hopefully you will enjoy and make every year. You might even grow tomatoes just to make this soup.

Garden Tomato Soup

1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 medium-sized onion, finely
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
4 cups of peeled, seeded and
chopped fresh garden tomatoes (4 very large tomatoes or
6-7 medium-sized tomatoes)
1/4 cup salted butter
4½ cups vegetable broth
2 tsp. sugar
4 inch sprig fresh thyme or four
chopped basil leaves (optional)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
A crusty baguette

In a large soup or stew pot, sauté the onions, celery and carrot in the butter until the onion is transparent, about eight minutes. Make sure the vegetables are tender. This soup should have zero crunch. Add four cups of the vegetable broth, tomatoes, sprig of thyme or chopped basil leaves and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and continue cooking the soup uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes.

In a separate small bowl, mix the last ½ cup of the vegetable broth with the flour, so it looks cloudy with no flour lumps. Slowly add this mixture to the pot of tomato soup. Continue cooking until the soup thickens from the addition of the flour, or for five minutes. Make sure the liquid flour mixture is cooked. Do not let the soup boil, just bubble, while constantly stirring. After the soup has thickened, if you have used thyme, remove the sprig from the pot, then salt and pepper to taste. Serve at once. It’s great with a toasty baguette.

Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport. Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport.

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