Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tomato and gin get together,
not in a cocktail, but in a soup

I’ve only heard of tomatoes getting together with alcohol in two ways: A Bloody Mary cocktail (tomato juice + vodka), or a Caesar cocktail (Clamato juice + vodka – apparently this drink is Canadian thing).
   So when I saw the recipe titled Tomato-Gin Soup (click for the recipe), my curiosity was peaked. 
   I clipped it out a few years ago from Gourmet magazine and filed it away in my to-do recipes pile.
   When I came home from the farmer’s market last week with a bag of gorgeous ripe tomatoes, I knew it was time to take the recipe for a test drive.
   It was OUTSTANDING, as I told my personal Facebook pals. My husband and I agreed it could stand up as a starter soup in a good restaurant.
   The soup was a perfectly creamy consistency, with a lovely tomato taste. Cream, a key ingredient, seemed to add a bit of a cheese flavor, which was absolutely welcome.
   It was quite easy to make. The recipe I linked to above is on a blog, but is exactly the same as the one I used from Gourmet magazine.
   In a large soup pot, chopped onion is cooked in butter, then halved tomatoes, a chopped russet potato, tomato paste, bay leaves, chicken or vegetable broth (I used store-bought chicken broth), and salt and pepper are added. The mixture is brought to a boil, then simmered briskly for 30 minutes.
   The bay leaves are discarded, then the soup is puréed. The recipe says to do this in a couple of batches in a blender, but my husband used a hand-held immersion blender.
   The soup is strained through a fine-mesh sieve. Since my husband used a handheld blender and the soup was still in the pot in which it was made, he strained it into another large soup pot (with my help – I held onto the sieve handle so it wouldn’t tip up).
   Cream (or milk or half-and-half) is stirred into the soup, along with gin, nutmeg (I used ¼ tsp dried nutmeg as opposed to the ¾ tsp grated listed in the recipe), and salt. The soup is simmered gently for 10 minutes.
   More cream is beaten with an electric mixer until it holds soft peaks.
   To serve, the soup is ladled into bowls and a dollop of whipped cream is put on top. The cream will spread out on the soup.         

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