Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

So, to continue on with my February soup theme, I thought I would incorporate a little Valentine’s Day tribute.  I decided to make a red soup and tomato seemed the obvious choice.  Besides, I had never made home-made tomato soup and the pre-made ones in the store are full of sodium and chemical ingredients.  Then in a moment of genius (or so I thought) I threw in a little extra heart grilled cheese sandwich bonus.  Aren’t tomato soup and grilled cheese a perfect combo anyhow?  Whoever came up with this winning combination should be given an award.  It’s marvelous.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 large slices of sandwich bread, crust removed and torn into 1-inch pieces (I used a dense whole-wheat bread)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

1.  In a large stockpot heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and bay leaf.  Stirring frequently, cook until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.

 2.  Add in tomatoes, including the juice and using a potato masher mash the tomatoes until they are broken down into smaller pieces.  Careful not to break up the bay leaf.  Stir in sugar and bread, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally, cook until bread is completely saturated and begins to break down, about 5 minutes.  Remove bay leaf.

3.  Turn heat off under pot and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and puree soup using a blender.  I separated the soup into 3 different batches, so as not to over fill the blender.  I always leave the slightest crack in the clear plastic topper of the blender to allow some of the steam to escape.  Do make sure you hold onto it TIGHTLY when mixing, otherwise you will have a big mess on your hands.

4.  Blend each batch for about 1 minute to get as smooth as possible.  After blending, place tomato soup back into stockpot, stir in chicken broth and salt.  Return soup to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in basil and serve.

As an extra bonus, I made grilled cheese and cut them into hearts using a large heart shaped cookie cutter.  It came out too cute for words.  Give it a try.  Show that special someone you care.

                                   

Adapted from:  browneyedbaker

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