Our entire family has been following the elections very closely. Knowing that Ohio is a key state in the home stretch, I did some research and found out that tomato juice was its official beverage. It's not warm enough to make tomato juice, so I made a warm tomato soup, using the very last batch of tomatoes in our garden.
I blended the ripe tomatoes with roasted red bell pepper, fried yellow onions, garlic, cumin, clove, fresh basil and crème fraîche. The result was very soothing and, to my surprise, the soup turned out very sweet and not acidic at all.
Servings: 6 servings
1¼ pounds ripe tomatoes (see tips)
1 chopped roasted red bell pepper, store-bought
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove, freshly ground
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 quart chicken stock (or vegetable broth)
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons rice flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
3 tablespoons sweet basil leaves
⅓ cup crème fraîche
In a pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and cook until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the clove and cumin. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bell peppers. Sauté for 5-8 minutes; cover with 1 quart of stock. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, blend the soup and pass through a coarse mesh strainer. Return to the pot and bring to a boil.
In a bowl, dissolve the flours in 2 cups water. Add the liquid to the soup. Stir constantly until thickened and let cook for 20 minutes. Add more water for consistency (I added 1 cup to thin the soup). Season with salt and pepper and add basil. When you're ready to serve, add Worcestershire sauce and crème fraîche.
Once it's combined, ladle the soup into small bowls. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
Decorate with tomato roses (see tips) and fresh basil leaves.
Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches.
I used a combination of Brandywines and San Marzano tomatoes. Brandywines are big, bright red and --most important-- so sweet. In contrast, San Marzano tomatoes are known for making tomato paste. They're perfect for cooking. You could use any variety such as Roma tomatoes but they might be more watery when cooked.
For decoration, form rose petals by rolling thin tomato peels, mimicking the shape of a flower.