You would never know the basics for this warming soup come from cans, thanks to the judicious additions of natural ingredients and seasonings. The recipe is from veteran wilderness chef Katie Mitzel’s Rocky Mountain Cooking (Appetite by Random House, $30), a collection of 80 easy, sustaining recipes from the mountain lodges where she has cooked for 20 years.
There’s an international flavour to Mitzel’s cooking, learned when the Ontario-born chef worked in Europe and the Far East. Far from food stores and dependent on deliveries by horse, snowmobile or helicopter, she runs a well-stocked pantry and varies basic foods with unusual seasoning combinations. Her book enhances the top-of-the-world feel with pictures of snowy slopes and rocky hiking paths, and includes tips on how to bake at high altitudes.
Creamy Tomato Soup
2 tablespoons (30 mL) salted butter
1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cans (28 ounces / 796 mL each) peeled whole tomatoes
1 can (5.5 ounces / 156 mL) tomato paste
4 cups (1 L) or 1 package (900 mL) vegetable stock
2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
2 cups (500 mL) whipping cream
Fresh finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter with oil. Sauté onion and garlic for five to six minutes, or until onion softens and turns translucent.
Transfer onion/garlic mixture to blender or food processor, and purée with the tomatoes in batches. Pour tomato mixture into the soup pot and stir in the tomato paste.
Stir in stock and lemon juice and heat to simmering point. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce.
Continue simmering, uncovered, over low heat for about 20 minutes, until the soup starts to thicken. Stir in cream; you may want to add more cream.
Season with more salt and pepper. Serve hot, topped with parsley.