It's just a couple days before Thanksgiving and I am writing about tomato soup. It doesn't seem right. By all intents and purposes I should be blogging about Justin Timberlake's Grandmothers Pecan Pie that I made last week, but alas, it was just so-so and I didn't snap a picture of it. So, with all that said...Tomato soup it is and a dang good one at that. This is a smack down tomato soup. If you are having a tomato soup throw down, make this one because it's everything a tomato soup should be. It's bold and rich, satisfying and creamy with subtle garlic notes. Roasting the fresh tomatoes with onions and garlic before making the soup, really develops and deepens the flavor of the whole thing. Adding the croutons is a perfect salty crunch that sends it over the edge. The bottoms soak up the soup and become soft while the top keeps it's texture. I love that.
I abide by a simple method when making croutons. Just cut your bread of choice (preferably something crusty and hearty) into bite sized cubes. Heat a skillet up over moderately high heat and add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. When the pan is hot, add the cubes of bread and season liberally with salt and pepper, tossing the whole time to be sure it does not burn. When your bread has dried out and is a bit crusty, your croutons are ready, about 3-4 minutes.
Roasted Tomato Soup with Fresh Basil
adapted from"Stirring the Pot" by Tyler Florence
2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (mix of heirlooms, cherry, vine, and plum tomatoes)
2 small yellow onions, sliced
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (I scaled this back to about 1/4 cup)
1 cup croutons (optional)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash, core, and cut the tomatoes into halves. Spread the tomatoes, onions, and garlic onto a baking tray. (Add the cherry tomatoes whole). Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until caramelized.
Transfer the roasted tomatoes and the onions and garlic to a large stockpot. pour in any roasting liquid from the tray, about 3 cups of the chicken broth, the bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until liquid has reduced by a third.
Remove and discard bay leaves. Add chopped basil leaves. Puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. You can also puree in batches in a regular blender. Return soup to low heat; add the 3/4 cup cream and adjust consistency with remaining chicken broth, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. if you like, garnish each bowl with fresh chopped basil and croutons.
Were headed to Nebraska this Thanksgiving to celebrate with Jeremy's side of the family. A snow storm is supposed to move in the day we leave. Joy, right? Have a happy start to the holiday, be safe, and when you get tired of turkey, turn to this soup.