Lola Cooks: Rustic Tomato Basil Soup

Fall is soup season.  I like soup just about anytime, but there is nothing quite as comforting on a chilly afternoon as a steamy bowl of soup and a little something to accompany it.  Crackers are always a good choice.  However, you can't go wrong with some bread or crostini either.


When I was seven we lived in Michigan above a hardware store.  I would walk the four blocks each day to and from school.  On chilly afternoons my grandmother would always have Popeye cued up for me on the television.  I would watch while she started dinner.  On many cooler nights the fall back was Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.  Grandma always used a canned soup and we loved it.

I still love Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese today although I make an updated version.  Our soup is homemade in a French inspired, rustic way.  It is delicious and warrants making enough to can for future use.  Our grilled cheese is simple enough, though I use different cheese than I got as a kid.  Nevertheless, the flavor and experience have the same effect... pure comfort.

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Rustic Tomato Basil Soup


Before you start:

Give tomatoes space on the baking tray.  It will take them longer to carmelize if they are crowed on the tray. If they are too close they get lost in the steam they create.

Use whatever cheese you want for your grilled cheese sandwiches, but I recommend that at least one of the cheeses you choose be a melty one.  I usually make mine with Muenster and a sharp cheddar.

If you don't have a immersion blender you could put this in a regular blender.  Be very careful and do it in small batches.  The liquid will expand with heat inside the lidded blender and cause an incredible mess.

This recipe makes 7-8 cups of soup.  Put some in a jar and make a special delivery to a friend.  It is sure to put a smile on their face.

The sour cream and milk mixture add a nice tang to the soup.  If you do not like the taste of sour cream you could substitute both ingredients with 3/4 cup heavy cream.

The ingredients:

  • 28 oz can of stewed tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup of fresh tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil plus enough to drizzle over tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • ½ cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 4 dashes hot sauce
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup whole milk

The method:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Strain liquid from stewed tomatoes.  Reserve liquid.
  3. Slice fresh tomatoes ¼ to ½ inch thick.
  4. Lay tomatoes in thin layer on baking sheet.
  5. Lightly drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes.  Add salt and pepper.
  6. Roast tomatoes in oven 15-20 minutes.  They should start to brown and carmelize.
  7. Meanwhile, chop up vegetables and heat up oil in bottom of large pot over medium heat.
  8. Add carrot, celery, onion, and garlic to oil and cook over medium heat until vegetables soften slightly, (about 20 min).
  9. Add roasted tomatoes to vegetables.  Add chicken stock, reserved liquid from tomatoes, butter, thyme, and hot sauce.
  10. Reduce heat slightly and cook uncovered until carrots are very soft (35-40 min).
  11. Stir in basil, sour cream, and milk.
  12. Puree soup with an immersion blender.
  13. Serve warm.