Slow Roasted Tomato and Fennel Soup with Smoked Paprika

by formerchef on October 30, 2011

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The height of tomato season in my garden seems to be mid August. It doesn’t matter when I plant, or how I stagger the planting, every August shows the bulk of the tomato crop. This year I did a little better, getting some tomatoes to last into September, including a second crop off my Celebrity plant. Some of you who live in colder climates may not start planting until later (I plant in April and May) and might still have plants still with fruit on the vine, or at least tomatoes picked a little green and ripening inside away from the first frost. Here is a way to use up those not-so-perfect tomatoes and the last of the ripe ones. The soup is also warm and hearty enough to say, “ah, Fall…” and the smoked paprika give it a nice little spicy kick.

I know people will ask, can I use my home canned tomatoes? I would say yes, but with a caveat; the soup will be good but it won’t taste the same as if you had roasted fresh tomatoes. Still, roasting the other vegetables will provide some of that sweetness and smokiness which comes from the roasting process, so give it a try and let me know how it comes out.

Another warning; don’t expect great results with flavorless grocery store tomatoes. If you don’t have home grown, that’s fine, but make sure to buy a good quality, ripe, tomato with flavor like the ones which can be found in your local farmer’s market. I know I’m probably preachin’ to the choir here, but most commercially grown tomatoes sold in grocery stores are bred for color, texture, and the ability to make it to market, not for flavor. Even though they are “fresh” they will not provide you with the best result, and I want you to enjoy this soup!

Slow Roasted Tomato and Fennel Soup
Printable Recipe in PDF

3 lbs whole fresh tomatoes
1 fennel bulb (about 1 lb)
1 large yellow onion (14-16 oz)
2 each carrots (8 oz)
2 stalks celery (8 oz)
3 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp olive oil
6 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp kosher salt

2 oz plain yogurt or sour cream for garnish

yield= 2 quarts soup


tomatoes and vegetables on pans

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Quarter the fennel bulb and remove the stem/base end.

Cut the celery in half, peel the carrots and cut the ends off. Cut the carrots in half. Peel the onion, cut the ends off and cut into quarters. Peel the garlic cloves.

Toss the fennel, celery, carrots, onion and garlic with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and place on a sheet pan.

Cut the cores from the tomatoes. If small (less than 2″ or 2 oz weight) , leave whole, otherwise cut the tomatoes in half. Put the tomatoes in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place on a sheet pan.

roasted tomatoes

Put both pans into a 275 degree oven and roast for 1:45-2 hours.

Put all the vegetables into a large soup pot and add 6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock.

roasted vegetables

Bring to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes break apart and the firmer vegetables get soft. Puree with an immersion blender or allow to cool and puree in a regular blender.

Strain the soup through a chinoise or fine mesh strainer to remove the skins, seeds and fibrous parts of the fennel. This gives a much smoother soup.

Return the soup to the pot and reheat. Add the cumin, smoked paprika and salt to taste.

Garnish with yogurt/sour cream and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.  Serve with home made whole wheat bread.
Tip; to get that squiggle garnish, I put a couple of ounces of yogurt into a small plastic bag, squished it into the corner and snipped off the tip of the bag. Squeeze onto the top of the soup. Voila!

Want more recipes using fresh tomatoes? Check these out:

1 Tiffany October 30, 2011 at 6:41 am

Good morning to me! This looks like such a delicious fall recipe. I’m glad you put it up. 🙂

2 formerchef October 30, 2011 at 6:48 am

You’re welcome! I did it just for you. 😉 If you make it, let me know how it comes out.

3 Suzanne October 30, 2011 at 9:00 am

This may be a silly question, but what role does the fennel play? I detest the taste of fennel (tastes like black licorice to me) and never, ever use it. I love the idea of the soup, but I’m less enamored of the fennel unless I know it’s not going to taste like licorice.

4 formerchef October 30, 2011 at 9:21 am

Suzanne- Well, the fennel does add another layer of flavor. Raw fennel can taste strongly of licorice but have you tried it cooked/roasted? The licorice flavor mellows substantially. Still, if you don’t like it, leave it out and just go with “roasted tomato and vegetable soup”. Maybe add a little extra garlic. 🙂

5 angela@spinachtiger October 30, 2011 at 10:20 am

Oh I can never have enough fennel. This soup looks savory, satisfying and smooth. A delight for a cold day.

6 jess March 1, 2012 at 2:13 pm

hi maybe is a silly question but i dont have an oven, so would you know about other solution to be toasted??? or the flavor it`s o.k if i only boiled them???

7 formerchef March 2, 2012 at 6:21 am

The flavor will be ok if you just cook the vegetables in a pot, but you won’t get the same sweetness you get from slow roasting.

8 susan in San Diego August 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Love reading this former chef’s recipes can’t wait to cook them up with all my garden fresh tomatoes!

9 Brinda September 12, 2012 at 9:14 am

Can I double or triple this recipe and freeze?

10 formerchef September 12, 2012 at 9:30 am

Yes, it can be frozen.

11 Jenna September 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm

This looks delicious!! Can I use juiced tomatoes instead?? I had so many tomatoes ripe at the same time and no time to deal with them so I juiced and juiced and juiced and froze all of it. Do you know how much juice would be equivalent to 3 lbs? Would you still add the soup stock, or will it be too watery? Thanks a ton!!

12 formerchef September 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm

You can use juice, but be aware that it won’t come out the same as whole tomatoes because you’re not roasting them (flavor difference) and you’re not using whole (texture difference). I don’t know how much juice would be equivalent to 3 lbs fresh tomatoes.

13 Jessica September 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Thank you so much for this recipe! I never know what to do with the fennel I get in my CSA box so I googled and found you. So glad I did!

14 Rella March 4, 2016 at 8:22 pm

We’re finally getting rain in my area, so soup is on my mind. Making this soup ASAP!!!

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