Every once in a while, I wonder if I miss living in a city. Then I go visit a city and realize I don’t miss it at all. There was a time when I was living in Philadelphia, and I thought I would live there forever because I loved it so much. Then life happened. I knew there was more out there, and felt suffocated in the city. So I ran off and joined the Navy, and met DB, and we got married, and had the Bear, and now we in live in a small, remote place, and it’s great. Except for one thing. I miss the food. Philadelphia is an amazing food town, and I miss having access to all its deliciousness. In fact, the food is probably the only thing I really miss. (Ok, seriously, friends, I miss yous too, but you’re people, not things, and we always miss the people in our lives when we are far apart from one another)
This soup is the brainchild of chef Scott Schroeder of South Philly Tap Room, once a stone’s throw from my apartment and scene of my first date with DB. He had oysters, I had this soup. I love this soup. Previously, I tried to recreate it here, and it was good, but it wasn’t THE soup. It reminded me of home, but it didn’t take me there. So I was pretty excited when I visited with my mom last spring and found this in the paper. The soup! And it’s easy! Made with pantry staples! Perfection. I used to hate tomato soup, but this what tomato soup is supposed to be. Rich, warm, with a little bit of texture and a hint of heat.
Tomato Lager Soup (adapted from the South Philly Tap Room)
This is comfort food, it’s not meant to be light or diet friendly. Don’t skimp on the butter. If you want to go the traditional route use Yuengling which should be widely available. I use our home-brewed lager, but when we’re out of that I opt for the Trader Joe’s Vienna Style Lager. Finally, whatever you do, use whole peeled tomatoes and not diced or crushed, I tried this once and it didn’t achieve the desired effect. This makes about 8 cups and will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeño, including seeds, chopped (optional)
18oz (1 1/2 bottles) lager beer (see note)
1 Can (28oz) whole peeled tomatoes in juice
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup diced onion
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter until and brown slightly (you want it to be a deep gold, not tan)
2. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Saute until slightly softened, 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the lager and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes then remove from heat.
4. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Place soup back on medium heat and add the diced fresh tomatoes and diced onion, cook about 3more minutes. (if you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer soup in batches to food processor or blender to puree)
5. Taste, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. (Alternatively, once it’s pureed (before adding the fresh vegetables) allow to cool and freeze until ready to use. Defrost and then add the fresh vegetables when reheating)