As a kid (and adult) I never liked tomato soup. My husband would pull out that nasty-ace can of Campbell’s tomato soup and dip his grilled cheese sandwich in it, and I would sit there in disgust. Such a waste. A perfectly good grilled cheese. Ruined.
Then one day I was at Zupas. As I was working my way through the line, ordering my typical half salad/half sandwich combo, the inevitable happened.
“Would you like some soup today miss?”
“Why do you people keep asking me this?” I thought to myself. I’m obviously not a soup person.
But there was something different about today. Maybe it was the tone this particular soup barista used. Maybe it was the lighting on his face. Maybe it was his magnificent teeth and charmingly firm yet welcoming smile. Wait, what?
Regardless of the “why”, I took the plunge. The plunge into the tomato basil soup.
“Sure. I’ll try the tomato basil soup I suppose.”
I took the little sacrament cup of soup to my table with me. I accepted it amongst my tray of other dinner pleasures, but I wasn’t ready to commit. I ate my salad first of course. Momma always said you gotta clean out the pipes before anything else. Then came the sandwich. Finally, there was nothing left but my slice of bread, my chocolate dipped strawberry and the soup. Well, heaven knows I’m saving the chocolate strawberry for last, so that ain’t goin down. So what do I do? I don’t want to eat the soup first because if it’s gross it’ll spoil the taste of my bread. But I don’t want to eat the bread first because then I’m left with an unknown flavor to cap off a perfectly wonderful meal.
“I’ll just dip my bread in the soup.”
Yes! The perfect solution. All soup goes down easier with a side-sponge of complex carbohydrates. And if it’s not good I’ll just finish the bread with an entire stick of butter to sterilize any aftertaste. So here it goes. Breath. Dip. Slow advancement of bread from tray to mouth. Bite. Surprise!
“What the crap I like this!”
It was like walking on water. I was freed. Freed from the evil spell that convinced me that all soup was the lovechild of wickedness and misery. This recipe is an ode to that soup. My spin-off of the Zupas Tomato Basil Soup. It’s not exactly the same but it’s still a balls-kicking, tasty tomato soup regardless if I do say so myself.
4 lbs Ripe Garden Tomatoes
3 C Chicken Broth (use vegetable stock for vegetarian version)
1 C Heavy Cream
10 Garlic Cloves, Unpeeled
1 Medium Yellow Onion, Diced
3 Tbsp + 1 tsp Fresh Basil, Minced
2 Tbsp Butter
2 tsp Fresh Oregano, Minced
2 tsp Sugar
¾ tsp Salt
½ tsp Black Pepper
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Preheat oven to 350. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and place on baking sheet with the insides facing up along with all 10 garlic cloves (left unpeeled). Drizzle tomatoes and garlic with olive oil then salt and pepper heavily. Roast tomatoes and garlic for 1 hour.
After roasting, remove tomatoes and garlic from oven and allow to cool as you prepare the rest of the ingredients for the soup. Melt butter on medium-low heat in 6-8 quart pot. Add diced onion, minced oregano, minced basil and sugar to melted butter and turn up heat to medium. Cook and stir frequently until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and tomatoes. Peel garlic and add. Stir together the ingredients, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup to a puree. Make sure to keep blender deeply immersed to prevent splattering. If you don’t have an immersion blender, blend the soup in batches in a traditional blender.
Once blended. Add cream, ¾ tsp salt and ½ tsp black pepper and stir well. Serve hot, topped with parmesan cheese and crackers or with a side of grilled cheese sandwiches 🙂
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