*UPDATE* — You can watch us cooking up this combo of Smoked Tomato Bisque and Smoked Brisket Grilled Cheese Sandwiches over on AM Northwest.
Creamy, indulgent, comforting, vegetarian, smoky, tomatoey, soup. What could be better on a fall day?
After creating the ridiculously out of this world Smoked Bloody Mary’s last winter, we couldn’t stop thinking of other things to do with smoked tomatoes. The first thing that popped into my head was tomato soup. What’s better than a simple tomato soup? Adding a bit of cream making it even more comforting.
We had friends coming over the afternoon I was making the soup who happened to be vegetarian, so hubs made me promise to keep this recipe veggie friendly. That meant no bacon!
This is an excellent way to eat something with that smoky delicious flavor, but is entirely vegetarian.
But in case you want to step this recipe up a notch in flavor you can always start the soup with bacon, reserve the bacon pieces, and then top the soup with the crunchy salty bacon. I’ve made the soup both ways, and the flavor is awesome either way – bacon or no bacon. And it was a hit with the friends.
Start by prepping your tomatoes
I like big beefsteak tomatoes. Quarter them, toss them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and old bay seasoning, then lay them on a foil lined sheet pan. You’ll want to collect all the juices that will run from the tomatoes as they cook.
Smoke your tomatoes
You can do this on any smoker, we used an offset stick burner (we also have a Traeger). Just smoke them at about 250 degrees for 2 hours.
Peel your tomatoes
Peel them while they are still warm, it will be easier to get the skins off.
Once the tomatoes are smoked and peeled, you’re ready to make your soup.
- 6 large beefsteak tomatoes quartered
- Fresh ground pepper
- Old bay spice
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 celery stalk chopped
- 1 garlic clove chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cups vegetarian stock can use chicken stock too
- 4 cups of the smoked tomatoes and their juices
- 3 sprigs of thyme tied together with string (or chopped)
- 1 bay leaf
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- Salt to taste (about 1 ½ teaspoons is a good bet)
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
Prep your smoker to 250 degrees.
Toss your tomatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and old bay seasoning, and place them on a foil lined sheet pan. Smoke them for up to 2 hours.
Remove from smoker and peel the skins from the tomatoes while they are still warm.
Heat the butter in a large soup pot set to medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-9 minutes (until soft). Add the garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
Add the stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf and thyme (wrapped in kitchen twine), and lower to a simmer.
Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf.
Using a hand immersion blender (or counter top blender), blend the soup until smooth.
Whisk in the cream, and season with salt and pepper.
For a non-vegetarian version, begin the soup with 2 thick pieces of diced bacon. Remove bacon pieces and discard half the bacon fat. Then move on to step 1 (butter, veggies, etc). Then top the soup with the reserved crispy bacon pieces.
You’ll be so amazed by the balanced smoky flavor. It’s not over the top! And the cream helps to balance out the acidity from the tomatoes.
Don’t be afraid of the word “smoke” when looking for a wine to pair. This is not a heavily smoked flavored soup. Nor is it ultra creamy or acidic. It’s a great balance of all three components. We tried it with several options, all red – a Garnacha, a Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, and an Italian Barbera.
The Tempranillo was a bit too powerful and tannic for the soup. The Garnacha was fruity with nice acidity and worked quite well. The best pairing was the Barbera, which had the best balance of fruit, acidity, and richness.
Whatever you find, look for a light-medium bodied red wine with good acidity. Garnacha from Spain, Rhone style wines, and Italian reds like Barbera work well.
Las Rocas Garnacha 2011 (Calatayud, Spain)
14.8 % abv | $11 (media sample)
Fruity with lots of dark cherry flavors. Acidic on the palate and easy drinking. A fun, easy going, everyday red and a great value found for around $9-$12.
Podere Ruggeri Corsini Barbera d’Alba 2012 (Piedmont, Italy)
14.5% abv | $15 (purchased from Whole Foods)
Red and black berry fruit, floral notes, spice, good acidity and mild tannins. All these components made it blend seamlessly with the soup.
The only thing missing from this soup was an ooey gooey grilled cheese. Check out the perfect pairing here –> Smoked Brisket Grilled Cheese!
For more recipes with wine pairing check out the Recipe Index.
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