Roasted Tomato Bacon Soup

If you’re looking for something to do with those farmer’s market tomatoes that you couldn’t resist (I understand—they’re beautiful!), try this delicious, smoky tomato soup. I like to prep the ingredients on the stovetop and in the oven. Then I let the slow cooker finish it off so that it’s ready for dinner. In a hurry? You can add everything back to the stock pot instead of a slow cooker to finish the cooking (simmer for 30-40 minutes). Just blend it all up when it’s hot and the veggies are soft. This soup freezes well, so feel free to make extra, cool it in mason jars, and stick it in the freezer. Reheat this winter to help ward off the winter chill.

12 cups fresh tomatoes (about 14 large), on the vine or romas, chopped
Olive oil for drizzling
Sea salt to taste
10 slices bacon, chopped
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped celery
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken or beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 cup coconut milk (optional)
Serves 4

Preheat your oven to 450°F.
Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
Wash and dry the tomatoes. Cut out the stem ends. Slice the tomatoes in half, and place them, cut-side up, on the baking sheet.
Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, and sprinkle them with sea salt.
Place the baking sheet in the oven, and roast the tomatoes for 30 minutes.
Remove the tomatoes from the oven, and set them aside.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until it is browned and crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, and transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate.
To the pot with the bacon grease, add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are soft, about 8-10 minutes.
Add the garlic to the pot, and stir.
To a slow cooker, add the roasted tomatoes, cooked veggies, broth, bay leaf, and most of the cooked bacon, reserving some for garnish. Cook the soup on low for 4-6 hours.
When the soup is done, remove and discard the bay leaf.
Purée the soup with an immersion blender. If desired, stir in the coconut milk for a creamy soup, or leave it as is for a traditional consistency.
Serve the soup in bowls topped with the extra bacon crumbles.