Thursday, December 5, 2013

My Cooking Attempts: Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

You know how some people love tomato soup? I'm not one of those. Well, at least I didn't think I was one of those people until I tried this recipe by Two Peas & Their Pod. All of a sudden I understood what all the fuss what about!
I had only ever tried the Campbell's Soup version of tomato soup and, no offense Campbell, but that stuff is HORRIBLE! However, after reading about all the wonderful health benefits of tomatoes I decided to give it another go. Only this time I decided to make the soup myself. I was hoping there would be an immense improvement in the homemade version and I was right. OMG what a difference fresh ingredients and a little TLC make!
I love this soup because, like most of my other recipes, I can make it in large quantities, with minimal effort, and it's healthy and delicious. I've adjusted a few things, here and there, to the recipe, but not much. Honestly, Two Peas & Their Pod hit the nail on the head with this one.

3 lbs Roma tomatoes
Note: You can use other types of tomatoes. Just remember, the smaller the tomato the sweeter the tomato. So in this case, smaller is better!
5 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
Dash of red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cup freshly chopped basil 
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper

First things first. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. As it heats up rinse your tomatoes and quarter them (cut them in half and then half the halves). Spread the tomatoes on a baking dish or casserole dish. Add the whole garlic cloves. Drizzle with about 2 -3 tablespoons of EVOO. Season with salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes.

Relax a little as they roast. When they have finished roasting, remove from oven and set aside.

Now go ahead and start on the second part of the recipe. Gather your next set of ingredients.

Roughly chop your onion and basil. In a large pot, heat the about 2 tablespoons of EVOO over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes. Add the canned tomatoes, fresh basil, and chicken broth. Cook for about 10 minutes. Stir in the oven roasted garlic and tomatoes. 

If you have an immersion blender, more power to you! Puree the soup in the stockpot. An immersion blender is still on my "list of things to buy for the kitchen." Until then I use my good ol' blender. 
If using a blender, transfer soup to your blender and blend. Careful, it will be hot. 

Return to pot. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook for about 40 minutes over medium-low heat. This will help meld the flavors together, remove any tin flavor from the canned tomatoes, and reduce some of the liquid, which is crucial since this soup uses no cream.
It's now ready to eat! Serve a large bowl with a side of warm and gooey grilled cheese (recipe to follow in another post) and enjoy. 

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