Recipe contributed by Ronnie Fein; photo contributed by Sherry Gerstein
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 50 minutes
This creamy dairy version of tomato soup gets a little Southwestern kick from a hot serrano chili, plus a dash of chili powder and cumin. If you’ve never peeled tomatoes using this method, you’ll be amazed out how easily the skin comes right off!
4 pounds tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1¼ to 1½ cups)
1 medium serrano chili pepper, seeded and chopped (see Kitchen Tip)
2 large cloves garlic, peeled chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups Roasted Vegetable Stock or store-bought low-sodium vegetable broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
½ cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek style
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- Prepare the tomatoes: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. With a spoon, carefully place the tomatoes into the boiling water. Cook for 20 seconds. Drain the tomatoes under cold water. Using a sharp paring knife, make a small cut near the stem and peel back the skin. Remove and discard the skin–it will peel off easily. Then cut the tomatoes in half, remove the cores, squeeze out the seeds, and chop the tomatoes.
- Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and serrano chili and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, chili powder, and cumin and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes.
- Add the stock, salt, and pepper. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes.
- With an immersion blender, purée the soup until it is smooth and creamy, or if you wish, carefully transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Return the soup to the pot and whisk in the yogurt (see Kitchen Tip). Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve hot, topped with shredded Cheddar (see Kitchen Tip).
Notes from the Test Kitchen:
- Fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded, become tomato concassé. Pomi and other brands make fresh tomato concassé, but in the summer, when there is an overabundance of fresh tomatoes, it’s easy to make at home. Here is my procedure; it differs a bit from Ronnie’s and takes a little longer, but it is how I was taught in school and I do it often: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Position a large mixing bowl filled with ice water near the stove. Using a sharp paring knife, remove the core and make a small X, about ½ inch by ½ inch, at the bottom of each tomato. With a spoon, carefully place one tomato at a time into the boiling water. Cook for 8 to 20 seconds (the riper the tomato, the shorter the time). Place the tomatoes, one at a time, into the cold water, to shock them and stop the cooking process. As soon as they are cool enough to touch, lift them out of the water. Using the paring knife at the X you cut, peel back the skin. Remove and discard the skin. Cut the tomatoes in half, and scoop or squeeze out the seeds. Roughly chop the tomatoes.
- I prefer using Roma or plum tomatoes, and if you can get your hands of real San Marzano tomatoes, buy them and use them. They are the Rolls Royce and Lamborghini of cooking tomatoes.
- If your tomatoes aren’t perfectly ripe, add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste for added depth of flavor.
- Jalapeño peppers are a milder substitute for serrano peppers. They have a similar flavor and are often easier to find.
- If you don’t want your soup to be quite so tart, substitute Mexican crema for the yogurt.
- A Monterey Jack cheese would also work here, instead of the Cheddar.