Aw Yiss. Some Motha. Flippin’. Tomato Soup.

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I don’t know why I felt the need to use that title.  I just DID.  Also, in case you didn’t recognize the meme, Canadian comic artist Kate Beaton is awesome and you should read her stuff.

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What do you do when you are moving and you have too many cans of tomatoes in your pantry, and your husband has left an open can of tomato paste in your refrigerator?

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I think we all know the answer to this.  It’s in the title after all.  Besides, nothing says summer in Newfoundland like a big bowl of hot soup.  And I’m not even kidding.  I haven’t seen the sun in a while and as I write this it is raining and 7°C.  Now you can use fresh tomatoes in this soup, and I’m sure there’s a good argument for doing so, because the taste is so much better and whatever.  Personally, if I have a nice fresh tomato in my hands, I’m going to want to eat it as is, not simmer it in a soup.  But to each his own.

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If you do decide to use fresh tomatoes, I recommend blanching them first to get the skins off.  Put a put of water on the boil and when it’s a-rollin’, submerge your tomatoes in the water for about a minute and a half, until the skins start to split.

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Remove the tomatoes from the pot and plunge them into a bowl of cold water (to stop the tomatoes from cooking and going mushy).

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Then you can just peel them easy as you please.

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Take a few carrots, peel them, and chop them up.

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Do the same with a large sweet onion.

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You know when you are reading real estate listings and you have to sort of translate them to understand what the sellers are trying to tell you?  Like, “cozy” means “small”, “quaint” means that none of the doors are level and won’t shut properly, and “rustic” means “broken”.  I think you can apply almost the same principle to food.  At least in terms of soups.  When I read that a soup is “hearty” that tells me that there’s more stuff in it than liquid.  And when I read “rustic” I understand that the creators were just too lazy to cut everything up extra small.  So by that logic pretty much everything I ever make is “rustic.”

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Sauté the onions in a large saucepan with a gob of vegetable oil until they are soft and transparent.

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Now you can huck in your spices.  I used some minced garlic, smoked paprika, and then some powdered chicken stock.  Give that a good stir.

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Now you can add in your tomatoes (I used 2 cans plus the 2 fresh ones I blanched) and your carrots.  I didn’t drain my canned tomatoes because I wanted the liquid.  If you’re using fresh tomatoes you may want to add in a bit of water. Plop in a can of tomato paste as well, to thicken it up.

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Simmer that for a while until the carrots are soft.  Now you can leave this in its hearty, rustic state, or you can give it a whaz with your handy immersion blender and mix it up.

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I chose the latter, obviously.

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Then I took a can of evaporated milk that Mrs. Nice had purchased for undisclosed reasons and poured that in. Uh, don’t, you know, confuse evaporated milk with condensed milk. I don’t think that would end well.

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Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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I would have loved to serve it with fresh basil but dried had to do.  Yum!

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Jerusalem Artichoke Chowder

It’s a cold, cold day today.  They say it’s going to snow tomorrow.  Need some warming chowder.

“IT’S CHOWDAH!”

Or something like that.  We’re nearing the end of our Jerusalem artichoke harvest.  Time for some soup.  I got this recipe from Laura Werlin and changed it around a little bit.  And, having made it, I think I would do it a bit differently next time.  But we can talk about that later.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan, and add in 1 large onion, chopped.  Stir that around for a minute or so. 

Slice up 2 pounds Jerusalem artichokes and 1 pound carrots.

Chuck both of those things in the pot and stir it around for a little bit.  Add in a little less than half a cup of flour and mix well.

Gradually add 5 cups chicken stock.

Stir, then cover and let simmer for about 45 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat and blend with an immersion blender or food processor.  I like to leave a few chunks in.  It is chowder, of course.

Grate 2 cups cheese.  The original calls for gruyère, but I only had bergeron and gouda, so I used those.

Pour in 2 1/2 cups milk, the cheese, and a teaspoon dry mustard. Blend it again.

Pour the soup carefully into a clean pot and gently reheat it without allowing it to boil.

Chop up some parsley and serve it over top.  Maybe a dash of chili or paprika if you like, for colour.

Next time I think I would leave the flour out until the vegetables were fully simmered and tender all the way through.  Then I would make a slurry with the broth and the flour and then bring it to a boil so it will thicken.  That way the vegetables would be nice and soft.