It's here!! Tomato season has arrived! Are you excited? I love home grown tomatoes right out of the garden, thrown in a salad, or just sliced up and eaten plain, whatever way you do it, they are wonderful things. Tonight we had a bunch that were starting to spoil and needed to be used quickly. Since we still have some dried ones we did a few months back, I decided to do something different this time. I made tomato soup.
There's a restaurant in our area (some of you Utahns will recognize it) called Zupa's. My husband and I frequent it a lot, because we love their fresh salads, soups, and sandwiches. One of their soups that I particularly like is called Tomato Basil Bisque. This is of course not their official recipe, but it was inspired by that soup. I hope you like it the way Hubby and I did.
Homemade Tomato Soup
4-6 tomatoes, roughly cut (about 4 cups or so)
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced finely
2 tbsp olive oil
1 can chicken or vegetable broth, low sodium if possible
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 c milk/half and half/heavy cream (any of the 3 will work, if you use milk you may want to serve it with a dollop of sour cream on top)
In a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil til onions are tender. Add tomatoes and let them render their juices and break down a bit, stir to combine with the onion and garlic and let all of the flavors come together. Let simmer on low for about 3-5 minutes--tomatoes should become soft and break down a bit and it should be a bit liquidy. At this point you will add your broth and salt and pepper. Let that simmer for awhile (about 15-20 minutes) til the tomatoes break down even more and start to really fall apart.
Pull out your immersion blender at this point, or if you don't have one, pull out your regular blender. Pour the tomato mixture into the blender (or put your immersion blender into the large pot) and blend til smooth. Be careful to pulse it slowly so your engine doesn't overheat too quickly if you are using a standard blender. Once everything is smooth, replace it back into your pot on the stove and return to heat. Stir in your milk, basil and balsamic vinegar, then simmer over medium low heat til it thickens a bit (about 10 more minutes).
Serve hot with your favorite crusty bread, and maybe a dollop of sour cream. I made sourdough toast with basil goat cheese spread on it, made a nice tangy side to the soup and was a good creamy compliment to the tomato flavor.
Here's what I did for the toast, in case you want to do the same:
1/2 loaf french sourdough bread, warmed in the oven and then sliced
1/2 log soft goat cheese
1/4 to 1/2 c chopped fresh basil
In a mixer, combine goat cheese and chopped basil til smooth and combined well. Spread this mixture on slices of the bread, and then put in your oven or toaster oven to warm and melt the goat cheese a bit. Serve warm along side tomato soup.