Sunday, August 3, 2014

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

One of my favorite comfort foods is Creamy Tomato Soup with a grilled cheese sandwich, and I shared my go to recipe with you in 2012.  I never felt the need nor set out to replace this recipe until I began experimenting with some ingredients in my refrigerator.

It took several tries, but I believe I have improved upon my original Creamy Tomato Soup.  Although it still has the delicious tomato taste, this new version adds body and texture that makes the soup even more satisfying. 

§     1/4 cup vegetable oil
§     3 cans diced tomatoes with juice
§     1 cup finely diced celery
§     1 cup finely diced carrots
§     1 cup finely diced onions
§     1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
§     4 tablespoon fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried
§     1 bay leaf
§     1 tablespoon tomato paste
§     4 tablespoon sugar
§     4 cups chicken broth
§     1/2 cup butter
§     1/2 cup flour
§     1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
§     1 1/2 teaspoons salt
§     1/2 teaspoon black pepper
§     2 cups half and half, warmed


Chop onions, carrots and celery.

Heat oil in a 4 quart soup pot.  Add celery, onions and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add basil, oregano, bay leaf, tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer approximately 15 minutes until carrots are tender.

To increase richness and add tomato flavor, stir in tomato paste.  Add sugar to cut the acidity of the tomato paste.

HINT:  Tomato paste freezes well and I use it often to increase tomato richness to recipes.  Whenever I us a tablespoon or two from a can of tomato paste, I freeze the remainder in single tablespoon portions in an ice cube tray or small plastic cup.

While soup simmers, prepare a roux.  In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat; add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 5-7 minutes.

Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup.  Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add back into soup pot.  Simmer, stirring constantly, until soup begins to thicken.

This chunky soup is beautiful and delicious, but I like mine smoother, so I use an emersion blender for about 5 or 10 seconds which is just enough to chop the vegetables smaller but does not liquefy them.

While whisking to blend, sprinkle Parmesan cheese slowly so it does not clump.

Stir in warmed half and half, salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes about 2 quarts (about 8 servings)

For a printer friendly copy of this recipe, go to Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup. Enjoy!