Oh soup. That's really all I have to say.
But I guess you are looking for more than that, huh? Once the cool weather hits, it’s like a button is switched on and all I want is soup, soup and more soup. So comforting, so warming, it’s like a miracle cure for the blues, for a chill that you just can’t get rid of, or for an empty stomach just grumbling to be filled up. Suddenly my daily lunch of ham & cheese sandwich or homemade chef’s salad (complete with Shaun’s ham & cheese pinwheels that he often prepares for me...love ya honey!) just wasn’t cutting it. Soup it would need to be. So after a couple of weeks of picking up soup from local eateries, I realized that while it seemed like it was a small expense, it was adding up to around $5 per day (sometimes more like $7 at fancier places like Moomah). And since you know my feelings on spending mucho moola on food that I can easily DIY, I realized it was time to tackle the soup-for-lunch challenge. In the midst of post-dinner party clean up and game day relaxing, I got my soup on. And oh how happy I am that I did.
Since I had some nice tomatoes in the fridge and all of the other ingredients on hand, I decided that tomato soup it would be! And this version is low fat, filling and hearty to boot. Oh and did I mention that it gives my favorite tomato soup from ‘wichcraft a serious run for its money?
Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
3 lbs tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
2 large onions, roughly chopped
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 14.5 oz cans low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp heavy cream
fresh black pepper
1/2 C fresh basil leaves
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Roughly chop the tomatoes and onions. Spread out on a foil-covered sheet pan (this will make clean up a snap!), drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast (this is the key to flavorful, delicious soup since roasting softens the veggies and brings out the yummy, carmelized flavors!).
Roast for about 25 minutes or until tomatoes and onions are soft, carmelized and smelling like heaven. Add them to a big stock pot or dutch oven.
Pour in the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes and whole peeled tomatoes (I always use Red Pack, unless grocer gives me another brand when I lazily order my groceries!). Stir in the bay leaves and butter. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop up the basil. I grabbed the last bit of leaves from our urban herb garden, which has recently been moved indoors. No word on how long that will last!
Add to the soup. After the 20-30 minutes has elapsed, it's time to blend the soup together. I use my handy immersion blender (a tool that I have come to obsess over) but using a blender or food processor to blend in batches should work as well.
Stir in the heavy cream (use as much as you'd like or omit altogether to keep it lower in fat). When serving, stir in a bit of parmesean cheese. Since I used up all of my basil, I garnished with a sprig of parsley that I had recently purchased for my upcoming Thanksgiving dinner (stay tuned for lots of Turkey Day recipes!)
So there you have it. A delicious and comforting bowl of soup. This recipe made a giant batch, which is perfect for a family, spreading over a week's time or even freezing to use throughout the winter! I also like my soup chunky so I didn't completely blend it through, though I'm sure it would be equally as delightful. Oh and to bring it to work, I simply load it up in an air tight container, keep it upright on my commute and heat in the microwave for lunch. Voila! Homemade, comforting soup! All that's missing is a giant, buttery grilled cheese sandwich...
So the question of the day is: What is your favorite food or beverage to warm you up on a cool day? Is it a bowl of soup? A hearty chili? A sweet mug of hot chocolate? Or maybe a simple chai tea?