Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Rich, creamy and bursting with summertime flavour, this bright and delicious Tomato Basil Soup is the perfect balance of fresh fragrant herbs and delicate seasonings. A duet of diced onions and carrots are gently sautéed then simmered together with Roma tomatoes, fresh basil and chicken stock until the soup yields its wonderful rich blend of refined Mediterranean flavours. Puréed to a lovely silky smooth texture, this simple, rich and satisfying Tomato Basil Soup is delicious on its own or perfectly partnered with a classic crisp and golden Grilled Cheese Sandwich and homemade Chipotle Ketchup.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
Serves 8

6 tbsp olive oil
4 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 large onion, sliced
1 cup fresh basil leaves
3 28-oz cans whole peeled Roma tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups light cream
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the carrots and onion and cook until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes, then add the basil and cook until the vegetables are completely soft, about 5 minutes more.

Add the tomatoes and broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes. Allow the soup to cool a little bit, then purée using an immersion blender or food processor, until smooth. For a lovely silky texture, strain the purée before returning the soup to the pot.

Stir in the cream over over low heat, until the desired texture is reached and the soup is just warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve warm. Garnish with a sprig of basil or chives and a swirl of cream.

The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Serves 4

8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
8 1⁄2" thick slices sourdough bread
16 oz comté cheese, grated

Spread butter evenly on both sides of each slice of bread. Put half the cheese on one slice and half on another. Top each with remaining bread slices. Heat a 12" cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add sandwiches to skillet and cook, flipping once with a metal spatula, until they're golden brown and crusty on both sides, about 18–20 minutes. Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and slice in half with a knife. Serve warm with hot steaming bowls of Tomato Basil Soup.

Homemade Chipotle Ketchup
Makes 1 cup

1 cup ketchup
3 tbsp puréed canned chipotle in adobo
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together the ketchup, chipotle, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to meld. The sauce will keep for 1 week in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.