Tomato Soup for the Soul

tomatosoupFor all of you out there with cold feet, throbbing headaches, and damp socks.

For those who trudged through 1 ½ feet of sleet water to cross the street over and over again.

For those who shoveled for hours even after the snow turned to rain and then to solid ice.

For those who got stuck on the train in a tunnel for a half hour and then missed your meeting.

For those who forgot to eat lunch and took it out on everyone during the slow bus ride home.

For those of you trapped at home with no power.

For the cabs with spinning wheels and no traction.

For those with 3 pairs of soaked “waterproof” boots.

new york snow full

For those of you turning in to the black ice spin.

For those of you ordering out again.

For those of you coming down with something.

For those of you with stir-crazed dogs who pee when you walk in the door.

For those of you who just need a big hug.

For those whose appointments all got canceled after you’d already left the house.

For those of you looking for blue skies and even those hoping for another storm.

For those of you tired of the weather channel naming snowstorms.

For those of you Californians who think it’s chilly when it gets below 70 degrees.

For those of you newlyweds and those starting over.

And mostly, for those of you with writer’s block, I give you

Tomato Soup for the Soul

(or Greek tomato soup as I like to call it because instead of cream, I use Greek yogurt)


1 (28-ounce) cans whole San Marzano tomatoes packed in juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 cup low sodium (or homemade) chicken stock
1/4 cup plain Greek Yogurt (or 1/4 cup heavy cream if you prefer to take the Greek out)
1 teaspoon brandy or sherry
salt and pepper
hot paprika to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease lightly. With fingers, carefully open whole tomatoes over strainer set in bowl and push out seeds, allowing juices to fall through strainer into bowl. Spread seeded tomatoes in single layer on foil. Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar. Bake until all liquid has evaporated and tomatoes begin to color, about 30 minutes. Let tomatoes cool slightly, then peel them off foil; transfer to small bowl and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat butter over medium heat in large saucepan until foaming. Add onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, adding a bit of salt to release the liquid. Add the tomato paste and let cook over low heat for about 7-10 minutes. Add flour, cinnamon, and sweet paprika and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. Gradually add chicken stock, whisking constantly to combine; stir in reserved tomato juice and roasted tomatoes. Cover, increase heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors, about 10 minutes. Put a small amount of liquid into a bowl, let cool for a few minutes, and stir the yogurt in. This will keep the yogurt from curdling too much. Slowly stir the yogurt mixture back into the main mixture.

3. Pour mixture through strainer and into medium bowl. Transfer tomatoes and solids in strainer to blender; add 1 cup strained liquid and puree until smooth. Place pureed mixture and remaining strained liquid in saucepan. Stir in brandy and season with salt, pepper, and hot paprika to taste. Can be put back on heat, but do not bring to a boil as the yogurt will curdle a bit more.


Alison Wonderland Tucker is a chef and caterer who lives and works in New York City. She writes about her love of food and life as a chef on her blog A Wonderland of Words.