tomato orange soup

february 22, 2013

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One of the best attributes of soup is that unexpected and disparate ingredients join together in gastronomic harmony.  Summer and fall menus for The Good Eats Company personal chef service feature ” farmer’s market vegetable soup”.  List all the ingredients in this soup , call it a vegetable side  and the dish may seem busy; simmer and marry together and all seems well and good.

If you think of fruit as a soup ingredient, what likely comes to mind is a chilled, sweet summer soup.  Keeping with our seasonal approach to cooking and eating, and recognizing that citrus season will be ending soon, today’s tomato orange soup is neither sweet nor served chilled.  There is the tang of citrus and perhaps a hint of sweetness from the pinch of sugar added to tame the acidity of tomato and orange, but the overall effect is savory.  This soup is wonderful as an accompaniment to a crispy, gooey grilled cheese sandwich (shown above and described in next week’s post) and would be a great vehicle for leftover bits of grilled fish or chicken.

One of my favorite dinners is that last little bit of soup I have made (for my personal chef service clients)  augmented with fish trimmings.  Not exactly a pauper’s meal when you consider all the vegetables one can pack into your average soup; this impromptu fish stew plus a multi-hued salad makes me feel I am dining in luxury.

Like all soups, this one tastes better the next day and will last in the refrigerator for up to four days.  It freezes well, also.  Like other pureed soups (see butternut squash soup with apple cider and chipotle spice),  you can make easy work of the puree step by employing an immersion, or stick, blender.  I  use a zester tool to remove the aromatic zest without including the bitter white pith.  After removing the zest, use a good knife to remove the remainder of the peel; you will be chopping the orange flesh coarsely and adding it to the soup.

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SInce you are using the orange exterior, try to purchase a large organic orange and avoid one that has been treated.  I like to chop the mirepoix (onion, carrot and celery) finely so that all softens nicely at the same rate.  During my culinary training we learned to strain soups like this one, but I really appreciate the extra fiber for its taste, texture and nutrient value.  I even add the frilly leaves of the celery stalk; they add herbal interest.

For this recipe I use canned San Marzano tomatoes.  Good cooks all over the world prize these tomatoes for their firm, vivid red flesh and superior flavor.  Grown in volcanic soil around Italy’s Mount Vesuvius, they have an attractive oblong shape and fewer seeds than their cousins.  If you are unable to locate San Marzanos, use canned plum tomatoes for their dense flesh and super tomato flavor.

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tomato orange soup

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

makes 6 cups, or 6 servings

ingredients

1 1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1/3 cup chopped celery, including leafy tops
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/4 t fine sea salt
1/8 t finely ground white pepper
28 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
zest and flesh of one large naval orange, preferably organic
2 1/2 cups best quality vegetable stock
1 t sugar

directions

  1. Combine mirepoix (onion, carrot and celery) with olive oil, salt and pepper in heavy 2 quart     saucepan, bring to medium heat, then reduce heat to medium low and cook until softened, stirring frequently, about 12-15 minutes; avoid browning the vegetables.
  2. Add tomatoes with their juices and the remainder of the ingredients.
  3. Bring mixture to boil and reduce heat immediately to low and simmer, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes.
  4. Puree soup with immersion blender (alternately, puree in batches in either blender or food processor, taking care to avoid splatters of the hot mixture).
  5. Adjust seasoning and serve immediately ; may be made up to four days in advance.

 

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