Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! (On Wednesday): slow cooker tomato soup


Oddly enough, it was downright chilly yesterday. This happens every so often here in the upper Midwest, a late summer day that is cool, cloudy and blustery and feels like mid-September. We wore jackets with our flip-flops to go to the park, and it felt like a good day to make a pot of soup. Tomato soup and cheese toast - can you think of more quintessential comfort food?

I started by chopping the onions. Onions make my children weep so I spared them that step.


The big white onion quarter is from our CSA, and the little guys are from my garden. Why don't my onions get big?
Chop, chop.
We're inundated with tomatoes right now. I've got a few from my own garden, but most of these are from the school garden. School hasn't started and I've put in dozens of hours pulling weeds and tending the garden plots this summer, so I figure it's okay for me to bring home the harvest if nobody else will.

Tomatoes are gorgeous, aren't they?
The kids' main job was to wash and core tomatoes before tossing them into the slow cooker insert. The soup goes in the blender when it's done cooking, so we didn't chop them, but the large tomatoes were cut in half.

We are still working on how to point the knife to avoid injury, but she didn't cut herself this time. Thank heaven.

Meanwhile, I sautéed the other soup ingredients on the stove: chopped onion, quite a lot of garlic, about a half zucchini leftover from chocolate zucchini cake (I need to make that with the kids next, because it's easy and quite delicious), a green pepper starting to shrivel, and some uneaten carrot sticks leftover from lunch a couple days before. This is like kitchen sink tomato soup; put in a little of everything except the kitchen sink!


Once those veggies were nice and soft, I put them in with the tomatoes, and the kids measured out some salt and a little bit of sugar (helps cut the acid of the tomatoes).


We mixed it all up, then put the lid on, set it to cook on low, and left for the day.


When we returned about six hours later, the soup was bubbling and fragrant. We added some a vegetable bullion cube, blended it up, added fresh chopped herbs, and turned the cooker back on to warm up the soup while Stuart make cheese toast and cooked corn on the cob.


It was the perfect meal for a chilly day!

Slow Cooker Tomato Soup
  • One big bowlful of ripe tomatoes, any kind (enough to fill a 6-quart slow cooker about 2/3 full)
  • 1 large onion (or several small ones), roughly chopped
  • 2 T. garlic, roughly chopped
  • About 2 cups random vegetables roughly chopped (I used zucchini, carrot, bell pepper, but you don't have to use all those. I bet eggplant would work, or even greens like chard or kale if you don't overdo it)
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cube bullion or 1 tsp. concentrated broth paste or powder (I used vegetable, but chicken would be good too)
  • 2-4 T. chopped fresh herbs like parsley, basil and chives
  1. Heat the oil over medium low heat and slowly cook the onions for about 10 minutes. When they become translucent, add the chopped vegetables and cook another 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and continue cooking another 2-3 minutes.
  2. While those things are cooking, core the tomatoes. Cut the large ones in half or quarters. Don't worry about removing seeds unless you really don't like them. Leave the skins on, too. Put all the tomatoes in the slow cooker insert thingy.
  3. Once the vegetables are done cooking, put them into the slow cooker with the tomatoes. Gently stir in the salt and sugar (sugar helps cut the acid of the tomatoes, as do the carrots).
  4. Cook undisturbed on low for at least 6 hours.
  5. With a slotted spoon, scoop all the big pieces out of the pot and blend. If you don't like tomato skins you can peel them off the large tomato halves at this point, but I usually don't bother. 
  6. There will be lots of juice left in the pot. Mix in the broth powder or bullion, gently pour the blended soup back in, and add the chopped herbs. Set the cooker on low and continue to cook for 30-60 minutes while you prepare the rest of the meal and set the table.

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