I’m back home after a work trip out of town for a few days. I was in sunny Florida (though I’m impressed I even knew anything about the weather, as I was in a Convention Center the whole time), and I came home to a return to winter. Seriously, the tulips that were ready to bud in my yard are in a state of shock and confusion, and if they don’t bloom, I’ll be in a state of something else. It was so very springlike here, so to go back to heavy boots, double socks, and wool hats — not to mention snow! — in March is disappointing, to put it gently. So what else could we do? Grilled cheeses and tomato soup for dinner! But not just any tomato soup. I’ve been working on this one for a while, trying to get an easy, weeknight-friendly, but flavor-deep tomato soup I could depend on. And this is it. And here you go.
WHAT YOU NEED
* olive oil
* 1/2 a small sweet onion, chopped
* 3t minced garlic
* 1T flour
* 280z can whole peeled tomatoes
* 14.5oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes (both Hunt’s and Trader Joe’s have a version, I know for sure)
* 3-4C vegetable broth
* ~1/4C sun dried tomatoes in oil (drained)
* 1/4C half and half
* 1/4C fresh basil, chopped, plus extra leaves for garnish
* 2 bay leaves
* 1t salt
* 1/2t black pepper
WHAT TO DO
Heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onions and garlic and cook about five minutes, until the onions begin to soften and the aromatics are released, but before the garlic burns. Add the flour and stir to fully combine, then add the whole, peeled tomatoes (juice included), crushing each with your fingers before dropping it into the pot. Next add the diced tomatoes, 3 cups of the veggie broth, sun dried tomatoes, and half and half. Stir to combine, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, partially covered, for twenty minutes, allowing the tomatoes to break down.
Remove the pot from the heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, just transfer the soup in batches to a regular blender.
If the soup seems too thick for your texture, add in the last cup of broth, a little at a time, to thin it out to a consistency you like. Otherwise, add in the fresh basil, bay leaves, salt, and pepper, mix to combine, and taste. Adjust seasonings as needed, and then return to medium-low heat. Simmer another 15 minutes, and serve steaming hot, garnished with a few torn leaves of fresh basil. My Tiny Sous Chef likes cooling it down with a dollop of Greek yogurt stirred through. Mmmmmm…