Recipe by NorthwestGal
Of all my recipes, this is one of the few dishes that is repeatedly requested by my family and friends. We usually serve this soup with a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches, and it's such a satisfying meal for a cold and chilly day. I have made the delectable soup using canned tomatoes as well as fresh tomatoes from our garden, and I cannot tell the difference between the two versions. The time calculated for this recipe is based on using canned tomatoes (which is how I usually make it since it's more convenient). But if you wish to use fresh tomatoes, please consider that it will be about 10-15 minutes more of preparation time.
- 6 tomatoes (or 28 ounce can whole tomatoes undrained)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1⁄3 cup chopped onion
- 1⁄3 cup chopped celery
- 6 cups low-fat milk
- 3⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon celery salt
- 15 ounces low-sodium tomato sauce
- 8 ounces tomato paste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1⁄2-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional) or 1⁄2-1 cup American cheese (optional)
Directions See How It's Made
- If using fresh tomatoes, peel the tomatoes, preserving as much juice as possible. Place peeled whole (or canned whole) tomatoes in a large kettle. Simmer tomatoes in their juices over low heat for 20 minutes, or until tomatoes are mushy and easily break apart when stirred with a wooden spoon.
- In a skillet, sauté the onion and celery in butter about 5 minutes, or until onions are clear. Add the sautéed onion mixture to the kettle with the tomatoes. Add milk, baking soda, sugar, celery salt, tomato sauce and tomato paste to the kettle, and stir well. Simmer over low heat until the soup is beginning to steam, but don’t let it come to a boil (or the milk can separate from the tomato base, giving the soup a clumpy rather than a creamy texture). Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve hot, with a handful of cheese sprinkled on the top of each serving.