Tomato Soup with Buttermilk-Cheddar Dumplings
for the soup:
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 oz canned whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 6 cups vegetable chicken or roasted garlic stock (see note)
- freshly ground black pepper
for the dumplings:
- 1 cup flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons (cold) butter, finely diced
- 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- freshly ground black pepper
- In a large, wide pot, heat some olive oil and saute the onions and garlic. Drain the liquid out of the can of tomatoes into a large bowl. Add the tomatoes to the onions and garlic and saute, breaking the tomatoes up into small bits with your spoon or spatula, until the onions and garlic are soft and translucent.
- Add the tomato paste and stock to the bowl with the tomato juice and whisk until the tomato paste has dissolved. Pour into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes or until the mixture has reduced and thickened a bit.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together with the flour, baking powder. In another bowl or measuring cup, beat the egg into the buttermilk. Pour it over the flour mixture, stir in seasoning and cheese and stir until a thick dough forms.
- Scoop the dumpling dough into the simmering soup in heaping tablespoons (I used a cookie scoop, the dough will be a bit sticky) in a single layer and cover. Continue to simmer about 12-15 minutes or until big, fluffy dumplings form. Serve immediately.
- I used Better than Boullion Roasted Garlic base to make my "stock". I bought it a long time ago but I think this has been the best use of it yet!
- I used this scoop to form the dumplings but a rounded tablespoon would also work.
- I broke the tomatoes up pretty finely with my spoon and enjoy a chunkier soup but if you'd prefer a smoother, more sauce-like texture, carefully puree the hot soup in a blender or with a stick blender prior to adding the dumplings over low heat.
I have had the idea for this soup for a long, long time. Okay, maybe not that long but at least since the summer when it was too hot to want to make soup from scratch. But now it is heading into late January, I haven’t been to a grocery store in person since early December and it’s time to get creative and cozy with the ingredients we have. We have been supplementing with some dairy and produce delivery and have really embraced buttermilk lately. My husband has been making buttermilk pancakes and putting it on his Scottish oats in the morning. It really does add a nice tang and body to homey foods like biscuits, pancakes, and dumplings.
Progresso makes some canned tomato soups that are slightly chunky and not creamy. Canned soups have always been my fallback, emergency lunch so I have a lot of thoughts and opinions about them. I always add dehydrated onions and extra spices to them but sometimes I go a little further. My favorite is the tomato rotini–my secret is that add a tiny wedge (or at times not so tiny if I am being honest) of very sharp cheddar to the bottom of the bowl so it melts when I pour in the soup and I get a couple of spoonfuls of melty, tomato-y cheese in each bowl. This recipe is my way of making that in a more socially acceptable and fun way to serve a cheddar-spiked tomato soup to more than just myself.
This soup is just on the verge of being a weeknight meal. I actually made it for lunch so I’d have light to take a picture of it but it really only took about 45 minutes to make, a good bit of which was hands-off (simmering the soup, then adding the dumplings and simmering again) which I think squeaks it into weeknight territory.
This is a very richly tomato soup thanks to cooking the tomatoes separately in the beginning (I think it concentrates their flavor and gives you a chance to break them up with your spoon) and adding tomato paste to thicken up and intensify the tomato flavor. The dumplings thicken the soup slightly as the cook but they really stand out as fully, cheesy floating islands that are easy to scoop in each bite. It really was a satisfying, delicious soup. My husband it already asking when we can make it again.