Saturday, September 13, 2008

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

In order to use up a lot of tomatoes from my garden, and at my dad's request, I decided to make tomato-basil soup. I found a good recipe for this soup over at the For Love of Cooking blog. Pam has a lot of good recipes and this is no exception. I made a few adjustments because I was working with fresh tomatoes instead of canned. I doubled the recipe, so this makes a whole stock pot worth of soup. I plan on freezing a lot for the winter.

For the tomatoes:
  • 16 cups of ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Chop the tomatoes (if using cherry tomatoes, just leave them whole) and divide between two 9x13 glass baking dishes. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over each dish and season with salt and pepper. Place in oven and roast for approximately 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

For the soup:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth (I use chicken)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3-4 teaspoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
  • salt and pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, non-reactive soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft. Add garlic and stir for 30-45 seconds before adding chicken (or vegetable) broth, bay leaves, sugar, balsamic vinegar, roasted tomatoes and their juice. Simmer over low heat for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaves and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Pour soup through a strainer to remove any chunks (optional). Mix in the fresh basil. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately, or let cool completely, transfer to containers and freeze to enjoy later.

Notes: This soup tastes surprisingly like Campbell's Tomato Soup. I had it with a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner, and it was great. Since I was working with fresh, very ripe tomatoes, the soup was quite acidic. I had to add more sugar than the original recipe calls for, but depending on what type of tomatoes you use, you might not need that much sugar. I added one teaspoon at a time and simmered for a bit, re-tasted, and added more until I achieved the right balance. This is a great way to use up a large amount of tomatoes. Also, if you are using fresh tomatoes, I highly recommend straining the soup because there are so many seeds and skins in the soup that it makes the texture before straining the soup unappealing.

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