Tomato soup is a quintessential American comfort food. Native to western South America and Central America, tomatoes, a member of the nightshade family, did not arrive in Europe till the early 1500’s. Bright shiny tomatoes were actually thought to be poisonous by Europeans. In Europe tomatoes were planted as ornamental curiosities, but not for consumption.
The first tomato variety to reach Europe was actually yellow in color. In Spain and Italy they were referred to as “pomi d’oro”, meaning “yellow apples“. Italy was the first to really embrace and cultivate tomatoes outside South America. The French referred to tomatoes as “pommes d’amour”, or “love apples” and actually believed they had aphrodisiacal properties.
Campbell Soup Company
With it’s long standing American comfort food status, tomato soup is really just a simple pureed soup and it can be served hot or cold. The first known published tomato soup recipe was mentioned by Eliza Leslie in 1857 in her final publication New Cookery Book.
But in 1869, Joseph Campbell, a fruit merchant, and Abraham Anderson, an icebox manufacturer, formed the business that would eventually become the Campbell Soup Company. And with it’s creation, tomato soup would never be the same.
Later, in 1897, Campbell made an amazing leap forward when John T. Dorrance, a chemist at the company and nephew of the then-president, invented the concept of condensed soup. He created five varieties, including tomato, which still remains one of the top 10 shelf-stable foods sold in U.S. grocery stores today.
Since its creation, Campbell’s tomato soup has become an indispensable fixture in American kitchens and you can even find spice cake recipe made using it. And despite a gradual decline in canned soup consumption, roughly 2 billion of us still purchase a can of Campbells tomato soup each year.
There is nothing fancy about tomato soup, but I’m a big fan. The primarily ingredient is simply tomatoes, with just a few other simple ingredients added to help enhance the actual tomato flavor. For my tomato soup recipe good quality tomatoes and chicken stock are the real key. San Marzano are my go-to for this classic comfort food I adore.
You can totally skip making homemade chicken stock, but invest in the good quality fresh or fresh-frozen kinds available at specialty markets. The rest of the soup ingredients help balance sweetness and aciitity, so my best advice, taste as you go and adjust as needed based on your tomatoes and personal preferences.
Commonly served with another American favorite, a grilled cheese sandwich, tomato soup reminds me of my childhood, but it is by no means a kid-only soup. Garnish with some fresh chives and toasted pipitas, and this old classic becomes an elegant, memorable soup that’s ready in under an hour.
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzeling
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups good quality chicken stock
- 1 (28-ounce) and 1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh chives, for garnish (optional)
- Pepitas, for garnish (optional)
- Step 1 In a Dutch oven or medium stockpot and the olive oil and butter and heat over a medium flame. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Next add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds till fragrant.
- Step 2 Stir in the flour and cook, while stirring for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock , tomatoes, sugar and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 25 minutes.
- Step 3 Remove from the heat and allow the cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, place the soup in a Cusinart fitted with a blade attachment and blend on high until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Step 4 Garnish with some additional olive oil, chopped chives and pepitas. Serve warm.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin