The other day I had the most delicious tomato orange soup at Elephants Delicatessen in downtown Portland, Oregon.  I try a lot of new foods, but this soup really stopped me in my tracks (where have you been all of my life?)  Who knew tomatoes and oranges were such a perfect pairing?  I Googled “tomato orange soup” and found the deli’s actual recipe on various websites.  Their site says they’ve been making it for 35 years and I can see why.  Rich tomato soup is the ideal winter comfort food, add in-season fresh oranges and you’ve got a keeper of a recipe.

A few tips.  I use home-canned tomatoes in my soup, but if you use store-bought tomatoes my favorite brand is Muir Glen.  Their tomato products are always fresh and bright.  Also, you can use regular Navel oranges for the juice, but I like to use a variety of oranges (blood, Mandarin, Cara Cara) since they are fresh and everywhere in the stores during the winter months.  Finally, the recipe calls for cream.  I didn’t add it and used my Vitamix to blend the soup like mad and I honestly could not detect the lack of cream in my version.  You can find the original link to the Elephants Delicatessen website recipe here or I’ve posted it below:

Elephants Tomato Orange Soup

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a saucepan, melt butter; add onion and sauté until translucent. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, baking soda and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Puree in a food processor or blender; strain through a sieve or food mill. Return to saucepan and stir in orange juice.

At this point, the soup can be refrigerated until ready to serve. At serving time, add the whipping cream and heat gently, stirring constantly, bringing to a simmer and adjust seasonings if necessary. Extra cream may be drizzled or pepitas can sprinkled on top immediately before serving for decorative effect.