Remember these? All those beautiful jars of tomatoes you picked, peeled, and packed this summer? They’re ready to come off the pantry shelves and into tonight’s dinner. January is the month where most locavores start eating down the freezer, cold storage, and pantry shelves in preparation for spring. I know, I haven’t lost my mind. It’s still January. My friends all roll their eyes at me, but I’m seriously counting the days! Once we’re past the holidays, the garden starts calling!
My favorite way to think spring in the middle of January is to make a meal from ingredients I stored from last year’s growing season. Tonight we’re having classic grilled cheese sandwiches dipped in homemade tomato soup, made with my home-canned tomatoes and frozen herbs from the garden. Mid-winter comfort food at its best. I chopped up a few Minnesota-grown hydroponic tomatoes for some fresh flavor, but this soup is good without too. The key is to simmer the soup slowly, releasing all the rich tomato flavor your elbow grease locked in during the canning process last summer.
What recipes are your favorites to use up your home canned tomatoes?
Home-Canned Tomato Soup
* Note * This recipe is adapted from a MarthaStewart.com recipe using fresh tomatoes. If you have fresh tomatoes in season, substitute the 3 1/2 cups canned tomatoes for 3 1/2 pounds of whole tomatoes, roughly chopped.
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 1/2 cups canned whole tomatoes with their juices
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 C. chopped fresh herbs (I used basil, oregano, and garlic chives)
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan and basil for garnish
Heat oil in a large stock-pot. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender. Add in remaining ingredients and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until juice is reduced by 1/3 and soup has slightly thickened.
Blend with a stick blender until soup is smooth and no large chunks remain. Serve warm with grated parmesan and basil.