Smooth, creamy and packed with flavour
We each have vivid memories of returning home after spending time at a non-Greek friend’s house and telling our parents about the unusual and often delicious foods we had eaten there. We were both pretty adventurous and rarely refused anything which was offered to us. We were especially intrigued by food which came from a can…because this was not something you ever saw in our childhood kitchen. We were amazed at the convenience, the variety, the flavour, and the colourful labels and whimsical names that were stacked high in our friends’ pantries. When we went grocery shopping with our parents we would search for these cans in the aisles and try to convince them to buy them for us. It rarely worked. Instead, our parents would read the labels, (often asking us to translate what was written) and say Θα το κάνουμε καλύτερα (We’ll make it better). This was how we ended up with Greek-style beef ravioli, home-made alphabet noodle pasta, and this cream of tomato soup.
We remember when our parents first made us this cream of tomato soup; we were not optimistic. Of course, we knew that they were great cooks, but how could they possible duplicate the
salty complex flavours found in those magical cans!? We had no reason to worry; this soup is better than any canned variety we’ve had and almost as easy to prepare.
The key to this soup is making sure that you have the freshest ingredients available. If you have vine-ripened tomatoes, straight from the garden, all the better. The nice thing about this soup is that you can use up any tomatoes which are starting to get a little soft. If they are not perfect for a horiatiki salad, they will still be perfect for this soup.
The tomatoes used in this soup require little to no maintenance. No peeling and no seeding involved. Simply wash them, remove the core, and chop up into pieces. No worries about the size and shape as it will all get blended together.
We usually use lactose-free skim milk when we make this soup, and despite the fact that there is no fat content in the milk, the soup is rich and creamy. Feel free to substitute for full-fat or 2% milk if you prefer; we bet it will be great!
We like to use an immersion blender when we puree our soups; this helps us control just how smooth we want our soup to be. Alternatively you can use a blender to do the same job.
Mia Kouppa: Cream of tomato soup
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 2 cups chopped carrot
- 6 cups chopped tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 fresh basil leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 dried red chili peppers or 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 cup milk
- Crumbled feta, for garnish
- In a large pot melt the butter and add the onion and celery and cook, stirring regularly for approximately 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped carrots and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring constantly so that the vegetables do not burn.
- Add the tomatoes, stock, whole garlic cloves, basil leaves, bay leaf, dried red peppers and the ground black pepper and salt to taste. Cook uncovered over medium heat for 30 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Using a spoon, remove and discard the bay leaf and the two dried red peppers.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it is smooth. Add in the milk and stir well.
- When you are ready to serve the soup, ladle it into bowls and add about a tablespoon of crumbled feta to each bowl. Enjoy.