You know the type…Always got picked last for everything, look beat up and bruised all of the time, didn’t quite grow up as quick as everyone else, maybe they’re even a little dirty….Well, ugly tomatoes have personalities too. They are good on the inside and just need a chance. Here is your opportunity to make some new friends that can bring plenty of flavor to the party, we all just need to have an open mind. When picking out your ugly tomatoes, you should look for the ones that still have some hope and haven’t gone off the deep end, because therapy is useless for tomatoes. You can, however, dress them up a little so they fit in with the crowd. “How can I dress up an ugly tomato” you might ask? Make soup.
- 6 pounds of ugly tomatoes
- 1 pound carrots roughly chopped
- 1 large yellow onion roughly chopped
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 Cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 Cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (use smoked paprika if you don’t like the heat)
- 1/2 Cup heavy cream
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 bay leaf
Roughly chop up the onion and carrot. Cut the tomatoes across their equator, squeeze out the seeds and cut the halves into quarters. Melt the butter in a large stock pot (7 quart) over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions and salt and saute for 10 minutes – or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes. Then, add the garlic, cook for 1 minute stirring constantly and add the tomatoes. Put the lid on and let them stew for 5 minutes stirring things up a couple of times. Add the chicken broth, basil, pepper, balsamic vinegar, molasses and chipotle. Turn heat up to high to get everything boiling and then reduce heat to maintain a simmer for 30 minutes.
Now, here we have some options….I personally put everything in a food processor and then pass it through a sieve to make a silky smooth soup OR you can use an immersion blender OR you can use a bar blender and sieve, or not. It all depends on how you like your tomato soup. After you have decided what you are going to do, get it back in the big pot, stir in the cream and add a bay leaf. Leave it on low heat for 30 minutes with the lid on to let the flavors come together. I like to top it with croutons made from jalapeno cheddar bread and some finely chopped basil.