I had never really been a lover of tomato soup. I think the thick liquid that comes out of a can too closely resembles plain old tomato sauce for me to enjoy it alone. A few years back, my husband and I took a mini trip and stopped at a neat little restaurant overlooking the Laurel Highlands, called Out of the Fire Cafe. This is when I would change my opinion of this classic soup and forever become a fan. Their soup contained chicken broth – which is the key to this recipe (although it is just as delicious with veggie broth).
As I mentioned before in my Ciambotta recipe, summer gardens are overflowing with ripe tomatoes which are perfect for this recipe. I do make this soup throughout the year as well, but the taste of summer tomatoes and fresh basil can’t be beat. This has become one of my super easy and delicious comfort food recipes.
Creamy Tomato Soup
Yield: 4-6 servings
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 red onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut (can sub a 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes if in a pinch)
- 4 cups chicken stock (1 carton – can sub veggie broth for vegan)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 – 1 cup heavy cream (can sub almond or coconut milk for vegan/paleo/whole30)
- 1 bunch basil, chopped into bite-size pieces
- Parmesan cheese, for garnish (omit for vegan/paleo/whole30)
Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large pot or dutch oven. Add onions to hot oil and season with the salt. Cook until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.
Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, stirring so it does not burn.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes and chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste and bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer for at least 15 minutes (The longer the better in my opinion).
Next comes the fun part – if you have an immersion blender, puree the mixture in the pot (take care not to splash yourself with hot soup). If you don’t have one, simply transfer the soup to a blender, then return to the pot. This makes sure the tomatoes are nice and smooth (although I like to leave small chunks).
Stir in the cream and basil and let simmer for another 15 minutes (make your substitutions as your diet calls for – when I was on the whole 30 I used almond milk or coconut cream). If you let it simmer longer, it will reduce down to a thicker consistency.
Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and garnish with some more of the basil. My family loves it with crusty bread but you can also dip some grilled cheese into it if you prefer. Enjoy!