roasted tomato soup and the critic

Oliver has been asking for tomato soup for several weeks now. At first, I thought he was kidding. This is a kid who has declared his hatred of tomatoes from day one, after all. He and his father are both alike with their tomato aversion.

As it turns out, he has tomato soup at his school occasionally, and he really likes it. I’ve never asked his school what type of tomato soup they serve. I always just assumed it was canned. I even have a soft spot in my heart for canned Campbell’s Tomato Soup. My father used to make that for me when I was a kid and had to stay home from school because I was sick. It may have only happened a few times, but the food memory is permanent. A bowl of hot tomato soup served with a grilled cheese sandwich, cut into two triangles, never rectangles, and perhaps some saltines. That is the meal that will forever remind me of Dad.

Despite my affection for Campbell’s tomato soup, I wanted to make my own soup to serve to Oliver. I roasted the tomatoes for an hour, hoping to concentrate as much of the flavors as possible during the roasting process. I threw an onion on the roasting pan, and added some garlic towards the end. I used my new KitchenAid Blender – which, by the way, I am in LOVE with – to puree the ingredients. Before long, and just in time for lunch, I placed in front of my son a nice hot bowl of homemade roasted tomato soup.

He tasted it.

“Where’s the rice?” he asked. “There should be rice on the bottom.”


Who puts rice on the bottom of their tomato soup? His school, apparently. So, either they serve the soup over rice, or they are serving the other version of the canned variety that I’ve never tasted, Campbell’s Tomato Rice soup.

Despite the harsh critique, he almost finished the bowl. I’ve decided to serve his over rice next time. This goes against all of my own memories of tomato soup, but serving it with rice is the least I can do for my son. Oliver’s memories of tomato soup involve rice, and I won’t deny him that.

*   *   *   *   *   *

I’m headed to the Culinary Institute of America later this week for a 2-day bootcamp course on basic cooking skills. This is purely for fun, and I’m so excited I can barely stand it. I’m looking forward to the experience and to sharing it with you all, here, when I get back.

Also, I’ve decided to start a new blog, because I have so much spare time and all.* It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for some time, and I hope it’s a worthwhile endeavor. If you’d like to check it out, it’s called Eating Despite Cancer. The blog is in its infancy, so please be patient with me. And if you have suggestions or comments, I’d really like to hear them.

*Sarcasm alert.

Yield: Serves 6.

Roasted Tomato Soup


3 pounds tomatoes, halved
1 yellow onion, halved
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups chicken stock (reduced-sodium, if using canned)
1/4 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

On a half-sheet pan, place the tomato halves and onion halves, cut side up. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes and onion, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Roast for 50 minutes, then add the halved garlic cloves to the pan. Roast for another 10 minutes.

In a blender, puree the roasted vegetables and any collected pan juices until smooth. Add thyme, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Puree again until well-blended.

Pour tomato puree into a large saucepan set over medium heat and stir in chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cream at the end of cooking time, stirring well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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13 Responses to “roasted tomato soup and the critic”

  1. 1
    tami — September 27, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

    i made tomato soup yesterday (and today) and it has such strong memories for me. i cannot WAIT to hear about your CIA experience and trip to NYC. safe travels. xoxox

  2. 2
    Paula — September 27, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

    Your soup recipe looks wonderful (even without Oliver’s rice LOL). Great before and after photos of the tomatoes too by the way.
    Enjoy your few days at the Culinary Institute! I went and visited your new blog. I think the idea is fantastic (!!!) I know that you will reach so many people that need so very much to read what you will post. You are wonderful for having created Eating Despite Cancer.

  3. 3
    Mauna — September 27, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

    My mom always put corn cornels in my tomato soup. Now it just doesn’t taste right without the corn.

  4. 4
    Liren — September 28, 2011 @ 1:43 am

    What?! Wow! I am so excited that Oliver has developed a liking for tomatoes, though the addition of rice on the bottom is a little interesting.

    I am so glad to see your new blog, MJ. I know that you will have a real impact in that space – food and cancer is another battle in and of itself. I remember too well from my parents’ fights how terrible the illness can be, especially to those who love food. Especially to those who need the nourishment. I’m looking forward to following you there as well.

    Have fun at CIA! So excited for you 🙂

  5. 5
    Gail — September 28, 2011 @ 6:21 am

    Nothing, but nothing is better than tomato soup. With or without rice.
    But always with grilled cheese!

  6. 6
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — September 28, 2011 @ 7:58 am

    There are few things more comforting than a bowl of tomato soup… and, as Gail said, grilled cheese. 🙂

  7. 7
    Avatar — September 28, 2011 @ 8:00 am

    I’m with Gail – grilled cheese and tomato soup – I could live off of that!!!
    Enjoy NYC and the CIA, I am green with envy…
    And go you with the new site. You’re an inspiration.

  8. 8
    Erin @ A Nesting Experience — September 28, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

    I love roasted tomato soup. This looks so delicious. Perfect for cool fall days!

  9. 9
    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — September 28, 2011 @ 3:29 pm

    Ha, I had Campbell’s tomato soup today. I jazzed it up a bit with milk, spinach and crumbled tortilla chips, but your version looks way, way, way, WAY better 🙂

  10. 10
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — September 29, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

    This soup looks lovely! Tomato soup is one of my favorites, and roasting the flavors adds so much great flavor!

  11. 11
    Karriann Graf — September 30, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

    I love tomato soup in the winter time…..especially when we make our famous grill cheese! The grill cheese is perfect for dipping.

    “Spice it Up”

  12. 12
    Russell at Chasing Delicious — October 9, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

    Yum! This recipe sounds scrumptious. I love tomato soup – the kind without rice too ; ). It takes me right back to being a kid!

  13. 13
    charlotte — October 12, 2011 @ 8:58 am

    Made it yesterday – with yellow tomatoes. Delicious and beautiful. Thanks!

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