Monday, June 5, 2017

Oven Roasted Plum Tomato & Basil Soup

There's something enormously comforting about a bowl of hot soup on a cold and rainy afternoon. This easy and delicious Oven Roasted Tomato Soup blends the fabulous flavours of garden fresh basil, garlic, onions and oven roasted tomatoes for a luxuriously smooth soup that's full of rich Italian flavours. Slow roasting caramelizes and intensifies the flavour of the tomatoes, enhances their natural sweetness, and lends extraordinary depth to this hearty and satisfying soup — ideal with a hot grilled cheese sandwich! Once roasted, these rich red tomatoes end up sweet and concentrated, not entirely dissimilar from sun-dried tomatoes but so much more delicious. 

Over Roasted Plum Tomato and Basil Soup
Serves 6-8

3 lb ripe plum tomatoes, washed, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-oz can plum tomatoes, with their juice
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
4 cups chicken stock 
1/2 cup heavy cream, optional
Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the tomatoes together in a large bowl with 1/4 cup of olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, in one layer on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and lightly caramelized. In an large stockpot over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic with two tablespoons of olive oil, butter and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Using a hand immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth. Stir in the cream and taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

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