TOMATO BASIL SOUP
Tomato soup is always at the forefront of my mind on a rainy day. As a child, the image of the Campbell’s soup boy seated at the table on a rainy day ready to eat his delicious soup made me crave it. I eagerly tried canned tomato soup hoping to experience the feelings of warmth and comfort portrayed in the ad campaigns. Instead I experienced disgust and discomfort, and swore I would never eat tomato soup again. From that fateful day I thought all tomato soup tasted like Campbell’s canned soup. Many years later while Christmas shopping, my husband and I stopped for lunch at The Nordstrom’s Cafe. I cringed as he ordered tomato soup. Watching my husband eat that soup made me crave it again. He looked like a grown up Campbell’s soup boy as he enjoyed every spoonful. I timidly asked for a taste wondering if this could be as delicious as he made it seem. To my surprise it was creamy, full-bodied, and delicious! It all snapped into focus, “This is what tomato soup should taste like!” I was determined to make my own version of this classic comfort food.
3 28 ounce cans of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
4 cups of homemade chicken stock
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/2 bottle of white wine
4 slices of bacon chopped
1 white onion finely chopped
4 carrots finely chopped
2 celery finely chopped
4-6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon of dried basil leaves
Chiffonade of fresh basil or basil micro greens for garnish
Olive oil if needed
Place onions, carrots, celery and garlic into food processor and pulse vegetables into a paste. Next, sauté bacon on medium high heat to make crispy bacon bits and render fat. Remove bacon from pot when browned and set aside for garnish later. Sauté the vegetable paste in bacon fat and add olive oil if needed. Cook down vegetable paste until water is evaporated and starts to brown. Add half bottle of white wine and reduce. While wine is reducing blend the canned tomatoes until smooth and add tomatoes to the pot. Pour in the chicken stock and season with thyme, dried basil leaves, bay leaf and salt to taste. Bring to a boil then lower heat to medium low and reduce for 20-30 minutes. With an emulsion blender you can further blend the soup to ensure silkiness. Remember to remove bay leaf before blending. Add 1/2 cup of cream right before serving and garnish with bacon and basil/micro greens! I highly recommend making a grilled cheese sandwich or a garlic crostini.
1. If you want to ensure greatness, I have to insist on San Marzano tomatoes and homemade chicken stock.
2. We love to accompany the soup with grilled cheese sandwiches on sourdough bread and extra-sharp aged cheddar cheese.
What is your favorite rainy day meal?