Jo-Anne van den Berg-Ohms
John Scheepers * Bantam, CT

There are few moments more rewarding than when you come back into the house after planting plump flower bulbs on a brisk, sunny fall afternoon. And there are few lunches more heartily enjoyed on such a day than a steaming bowl of Rich Creamy Tomato Soup with cheddar and fontina grilled cheese sandwiches. For a spiced up version, lightly sprinkle ground cloves into the soup (like Sharon's grandmother) and spread a thin layer of fig and ginger jam on to artisan peasant bread before grilling the compound cheese sandwiches. You'll be all set to get back outside and finish planting bulbs in anticipation of glorious spring garden!

Rich Creamy Tomato Soup
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 8 to 12 sprigs fresh thyme, banded together
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 48 ounces of peeled, whole stewed plum tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestshire sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Sprinkle of ground cloves

    In a large soup pot, sauté the shallots, onions and garlic in the butter over medium heat until soft and translucent along with the banded bundle of thyme sprigs (about 10 minutes). Add the tomato paste, breaking it up into as much of a single layer as possible, and caramelize it over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add the peeled, whole stewed plum tomatoes along with their juices or puree, sugar, chicken broth, bay leaves and Worcestshire sauce, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat and reduce heat to low, simmering uncovered for 50 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool down a bit. Remove the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until velvety smooth. (Do not fill the blender more than 1/3 full, particularly if hot, to avoid the steam blowing the top off of the blender). Pour the pureed soup into a fresh pot. Add the heavy cream and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with optional ground clove to taste for an extra special taste. Serves: 10 or so. Terrific with cheddar and fontina grilled cheese sandwiches.

  • Recipe Seeds: Garlic, Onion Seed, Onion Sets, Onions, Plum Tomatoes, Shallots, Thyme, Tomatoes