Cream of Tomato Soup, Belgian-Style

"From Ruth Van Waerebeek's "Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook." Ruth says this soup has a special status in Belgium where it's commonly served at wedding receptions, anniversaries and other festive occasions. It's a little different from the tomato soup I grew up with: creamy, yes, but with bits of fresh tomato and the flavors of Madeira or Cognac providing a kind of grown-up undertone. This is Ruth's mother's version; it can be made a day ahead."
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  • Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large soup kettle over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring ocassionally with a wooden spoon, until softened but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, sugar, cayenne, and a little salt. Cook gently over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring ocassionally. Let the tomato mixture cool slightly, then purée it in a blender or food processor or press it through a food mill. Set aside.
  • Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in the soup kettle over low heat. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until smooth. Gradually add the broth while stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Continue to cook until you have a thick, velvety white sauce the consistency of heavy cream. Still whisking, let it boil up once or twice to get rid of any pasty flour taste.
  • Remove the soup from the heat and whisk in the tomato mixture. Let rest until just before serving. (The soup may be prepared a day ahead up to this point. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate covered.).
  • Gently reheat the tomato soup but be careful not to let it come to a boil. Stir in the cream and the Madeira (or Cognac). Season to taste with salt and pepper. The soup can be reheated later, but do not let it come to a boil or the cream will curdle.
  • Prepare the garnish: Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the tomato and sauté for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and stir into the hot tomato soup. Sprinkle with the minced fresh herbs and serve at once.

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  1. aronsinvest
    This recipe would be good for a dinner party. It has a sophisticated taste. I would add a little less cognac. Posted for PAC 2009. Break out the cookbooks and add more recipes :).


My most cherished cookbook is Ruth Van Waerebeek's Everybody Eats Well in Belgium. It has been my inspiration for most of our family's special occasions and holiday meals and it was through exploring this book that cooking and entertaining became such a pleasurable hobby for me. The book is out of print, but I contacted Ruth to express my appreciation and ask her permission to include her recipes here. In her words: "My main concern when I wrote this book, was exactly that, that people around the globe would be able to taste these wonderful Belgian flavors! So, I don't have any objection that you post the recipes on the web."
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