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Tomato-Orange Soup

By , from the Culinate Kitchen collection
Serves 3 to 4
Total Time 40 minutes


Portland’s Elephants Delicatessen makes a wonderful tomato-orange soup. When the local daily paper published the recipe, I decided to lighten it up by using less butter and cream. My version isn’t as rich, but it’s still very good; it’s even good without any milk or cream.


3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 can (28 ounces) unsalted diced or whole tomatoes, chopped, with juice
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 cup fresh orange juice
½ cup whole milk or half-and-half


  1. Melt the butter in a stockpot or large saucepan; add the onions and sauté over medium heat until they begin to soften. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, baking soda, and thyme. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
  2. Purée with an immersion blender or in a food processor or blender. (If using a blender, avoid burning yourself by only filling up the container halfway before blending.) If desired, strain the soup through a sieve, then return the soup to the pot.
  3. Stir in the orange juice and the milk or half-and-half. Bring back to a simmer and taste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, and milk or half-and-half to your liking. Serve hot.


Dried thyme can be substituted for fresh; use ½ tsp. instead.

Triple this soup recipe by using a 6-pound can of tomatoes and skipping the milk; freeze the results, then add the milk when you’re warming up the thawed soup.

This content is from the Culinate Kitchen collection.

There are 3 comments on this item
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33% recommend this recipe
1. by Caroline Cummins on Feb 19, 2008 at 1:27 PM PST

What does the baking soda in this recipe do?

2. by Carrie Floyd on Feb 19, 2008 at 2:25 PM PST

My guess is that it neutralizes the acidity, but a note in Fannie Farmer says that the baking soda keeps the milk from curdling. It definitely mellows the soup—in a nice way— but I’ve learned (by accident) that too much baking soda dulls the soup.

3. by Diane Brush on Jan 28, 2009 at 5:37 PM PST

Made this yesterday and it’s excellent. The orange juice really adds depth to the flavor. It was so good I’m going to make it again tomorrow.

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