I don't think we've ever gone up to the camp I run in the winter without a container of this soup in tow. Nothing is better than this soup after a day of working/playing/making a mess in the snow.
This soup can be done two ways -- either the long way or the short way. Each has its advantages; the long way yields the most complex flavor, but the short way gives you an amazing soup in a matter of minutes. This is one that holds up extremely well in the fridge or camp cooler, and tastes even better a day or two after you make it.
As usual, the dairy may be left out, which keeps this recipe vegan. However, this is one of the rare times when I actually do add dairy to a recipe -- the creme fraiche really helps to cut the heat of the chipotles. And unlike the rest of my family, I'm a bit of a chipotle-wimp.
This recipe includes directions for roasting your own tomatoes and making homemade balsamic glaze, too!
2T olive oil
1 small-medium red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic (roasted garlic is best, but raw garlic works, too), minced
Roasted tomato puree (instructions below) OR 2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
1t lime juice
1/2t ground oregano
1/4t ground cumin
1 chipotle pepper (canned, in adobo – don’t use a fresh one)
2t adobo sauce from canned chipotles
3-4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1T balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper
Balsamic glaze (instructions below)
Cilantro sprigs for garnish
Crème fraiche or sour cream, if desired
- In a stock pot, heat olive oil until shimmering. Saute onions 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 2 minutes.
- Add tomato puree or canned tomatoes and their juice, lime juice, sugar, oregano, cumin, chipotle, adobo, and about 1 cup of the stock. Heat on low until simmering.
- Puree with an immersion blender. Add stock slowly until you reach your desired consistency (3-4 cups is best, but it depends on the moisture content of your tomatoes). If 4 cups isn’t enough, add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
- Stir in balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with balsamic glaze, cilantro, and crème fraiche, if desired.
ROASTED TOMATO PUREE
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place tomatoes (large ones may be cut in half; cherry tomatoes don’t need to be cut) on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Spray with olive oil or toss with 2t oil.
- Roast tomatoes until very soft, bubbly, and you can see bits of blackened skin. This takes about 15-20 minutes; sometimes a little longer, depending on the size of your tomatoes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool. Blend into a thick puree with an immersion blender.
**ONE MORE NOTE** Roasted tomato puree keeps very well in the freezer. We even roast the green tomatoes we save from the very end of our crop, picked the day we pull out the vines to replace them with kale and spinach. So when we get tired of Everything Tomato, I'll roast a few pounds and stash it away until November, when we start to miss having tomatoes outside all the time.
- Pour 1 cup balsamic vinegar into a wide saute pan (or saucepan, though it cooks faster in a saute pan).
- Add 1T brown sugar.
- Cook over low to medium heat until simmering. Allow to simmer, stirring constantly, about 15-20 minutes or until reduced by ½.