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August 4, 2011

Cream of Tomato Soup (Without the Cream)

by Anne Paddock

It’s a keeper, mom” – those were the words spoken by my daughter last night after I made a my newest version of her favorite soup: Cream of Tomato.  Music to my ears after a week of strike-outs (Rice and Shrimp Salad with Peas, Low Fat Italian Meatballs – frankly, I should have known better than to try something low-fat linked with the word “Italian”).

I used a recipe called “Creamy Tomato Soup” from King Arthur Flour ( for reference and tweaked the recipe by reducing the butter and onions, using low sodium chicken broth and water, replacing pureed tomatoes with crushed tomatoes without added salt,  and using fresh basil instead of dried. The secret to this creamy flavorful soup is the evaporated milk which is impervious to curdling and guarantees a silky, smooth texture.  

Cream of Tomato Soup
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, minced very fine
1 can or box of crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon of thyme
10 large fresh basil leaves, minced fine
3 tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour
2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
2 cups of water
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the minced onion.
  • Saute until the onions over low heat until they are softened, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, thyme, and basil.
  • Bring the mixture to a low simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Puree the soup in a blender and pour into a medium soup pot.
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, broth, and water, whisking until smooth.
  • Add this mixture slowly to the pot of soup, stirring constantly.
  • Cover and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes.
  • Stir in the baking soda (the soup will foam up briefly but not to worry), sugar, and milk.
  • Heat to a low simmer and pour into soup bowls.
  • Top with homemade croutons or a dollop of sour cream and a few sprigs of chives.

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