Roasted tomato basil soup

Chef Fred
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Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

3 lbs. plum tomatoes cut in half
2 tsps. Salt split
1 tsp. course ground black pepper
1 tsp. dry thyme
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lg. Ziploc bag
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 medium yellow onions, course chopped
6 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. dry basil
2 cups loose packed fresh basil leaves
2 15 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1-quart chicken stock
4 cups cubed Italian or French bread
2 cups half & half
Fresh basil for garnish
Basic Roasted Tomato Preparation

Place the first four ingredients in a large Ziploc bag. Add the ¼ cup of olive oil and seal tightly. Rotate the filled bag in all directions to evenly coat the tomatoes. Remove the coated tomatoes to a foiled cookie sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove tomato skins.

Basic Soup Preparation

Add the remaining olive oil (2 tbsp.) to a hot 8-quart sauce pan. Next, add the chopped onion, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and dry basil. Sauté until translucent and tender. Now add the tomato sauce, chicken stock, and fresh basil. Stir to combine well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and add the roasted tomatoes. Cook an additional 40 minutes.  During, the last 10 minutes, add the cubed bread, remaining salt, and half and half. Stir to combine evenly.

Remove the soup from the heat and cool to room temperature (20 minutes). Place the cool soup in to a blender/food processor, in batches, and blend until thick and smooth. Pour the blended soup into a clean 8-quart sauce pan. Now, stir the soup as you reheat it over medium heat. Remove the soup from the heat just before it begins to boil. Serve immediately with a classic grilled cheese sandwich. Garnish with thin strips of fresh basil and croutons.
Yield: 8-10 servings
Prep time: Active:20 minutes
Cook time: Tomatoes: 45 minutes, Soup: 40 minutes active, 20 minutes passive
Calories: one cup, 295  

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