When I was growing up, the only person in my family who ate tomato soup was my mom. Sadly, she was also the only person in our family who was allergic to tomatoes. Eek. Life's unfair sometimes. I have no idea how I got started eating tomato soup. I'm thinking that cute guy I married might have something to do with it. That, and this amazing recipe, which Paula Deen came up with and I tweaked to suit my fancy.
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
3 cups canned chicken broth (or vegetable broth, if making vegetarian soup)
1 (29-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (29-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice (Note: If you're planning to blend this soup so that it's nice and smooth, it doesn't really matter what kind of tomatoes you use. I used two cans of crushed tomatoes instead of 1 can of sauce and 1 of diced)
2 dashes hot sauce (I used Frank's)
2 tablespoons honey (we used raw honey made locally! Yay Logan's Lake honey!)
1/2 tablespoon dried dill weed
1/2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1. In a 4-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt half (51/2 tablespoons) of butter. When melted, whisk in the flour and stir until very smooth. Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, until very thick and smooth.
2. In a small skillet, melt the remaining butter. Sauté the onion and garlic over low heat until the onion is translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add the onion and garlic to the flour mixture and combine. Slowly add the chicken broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition and allowing the soup to thicken slightly before adding more broth.
4. When all the broth is added, add the tomato sauce and the diced tomatoes, 1 cup at a time, stirring well and allowing the mixture to thicken before adding more. When all the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes have been added, season soup with hot sauce, honey, dill weed, pepper, chili powder, and basil.
5. Allow to simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes so that the flavors can blend. Stir frequently, as the soup will stick to the bottom of the pot. Blend till smooth, if desired. An immersion blender is great for this job, or you can use a traditional blender, working in batches.
I like to make this soup at least a day ahead of time, because it only gets better the longer the flavors sit. We've already enjoyed this soup twice, and we're only a few weeks into the soup season!