Eating really good tomato soup on a cold fall/winter day gives a similar sensation of comfort to putting your feet up and pulling a wool blanket over them. Something easy to repeat, something you should do more often.
- fresh tomatoes (or whole canned tomatoes)
- oniony vegetable stock
- 1 can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
- quality whole milk
optional finishing touches:
- fresh herbs, chopped
- extra sharp cheese, grated
De-stem and wash the tomatoes, or pull them from the can or jar. Pile them into a stock pot and turn the heat up to medium-high. Cover. They will start to burst pretty soon. Stir them and encourage the exploding of the tomatoes. Keep returning the cover.
Make or defrost a really good, oniony vegetable stock. Pour it over the tomatoes. Stir, continue cooking until all the tomatoes have sort of become one with the stock. It should already taste really good.
Add a can of fire-roasted tomatoes, good salt, and pepper. Let bubble and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Take an immersion blender and just give it a few spins to smooth things out a bit. Spike with a touch of cayenne, if you want a little heat.
Pour in some milk, stir, reduce the heat low, and cover. When back up to temperature, add a few knobs of cold butter. This will thicken and enrich the soup and also cut down on the acidity of the tomatoes.
Finish with a dusting of good Hungarian paprika, and if you want some fresh herbs, or grated extra sharp cheese, or all of the above. Eat with grilled cheese or other warm, soul-satisfying sandwiches.