It is fall, and that means that I must make large vats of soup. It’s a compulsion, but a beneficial one, so I haven’t sought treatment. When the tomatoes and basil are fresh from the garden, preferably still warm from the September sun… I could eat the whole dang pot, blow up Violet Beauregard-style, and die a happy, if slightly alkaline death.
My mom gave me her favorite soup recipe years ago. I make it every fall, and always intend to freeze some so I can eat it in the winter and remember how sweet the garden beefsteaks were. Problem is, it never makes it to the freezer because it doesn’t stay in the house long enough. I have attempted this recipe with hothouse tomatoes when the soup-craving voices in my head demand it in January… but it’s not worth the trouble. Different food group, entirely. Make it now, and it’s bliss in a bowl.
Tomato Basil Soup
3 TBLS butter (I mean, right there, how can you go wrong?)
1 large yellow (vidalia, if you can get it) onion, thinly sliced
1 small carrot, shredded
2 stalks celery, sliced
6 large ripe tomatoes; peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Dash cayenne pepper*
1 1/2 cups rich chicken broth
Salt, to taste (I didn’t use any)
*I opened my cayenne pepper jar and discovered that tiny (and evidently, heat-loving) bugs had converted it into a townhouse, so I used a couple shakes of tabasco sauce instead. Tastes great (less buggy.)
1) Melt butter in a soup pot or 4 quart saucepan. Add onion, carrot, celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until veggies are soft.
2) Stir in tomatoes, basil, sugar and peppers. Boil, stirring frequently. You may want to close the doors and windows at this point to prevent the neighbors from sniffing around. Cover, reduce heat, simmer until very soft, about 10 – 15 minutes.
Okay, so I’m a tomato geek, but this color blows my mind.
3) Put the soup into a food processor or blender and puree mixture until smooth. Return to pan, add broth and salt, to taste.
6 – 8 1.
Post-food processor. The “before” picture looks prettier, but the flavor’s in the blending.