Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Roasted Tomato Soup

The first thing that I wanted to do when I got back home after being away to care for my mom was cook. I was sick of hospital and restaurant food.

During the long drive home, I concocted recipes in my head that I wanted to create. This was one. I wasn't a 100% sure about how to roast the tomatoes, so I looked up some recipes on the Internet and found this one by Tyler Florence, which I used as my jumping off point.

Then, I hunted down these tomatoes at the farmer's market. We've had a blight in our area which has ruined the tomatoes and potatoes, so I was thrilled to find these beauties.

It is a super easy recipe.

Roasted Tomato Soup

(adapted a Tyler Florence recipe from FoodTV.com)

2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (make sure they are ripe)
6 cloves of garlic, peeled (I used half a head)
2 small yellow onions, sliced (I used medium)
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 quart chicken stock ( I used a big can)
2 bay leaves ( I used 4 since my bay leaves were old)
4 T. butter ( I used only 2)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, optional (I used lots)
3/4 cup heavy cream, optional ( I used a can of 2% evaporated milk)

Preheat the over to 450 degrees. Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves. Spread the tomatoes, garlic cloves and onions onto a baking tray. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized. Watch out burning like some of mine did. You don't want that bitterness in your soup, especially when garlic burns. Throw out what is burnt, if necessary, but keep the beautiful, browned bits. They pack lots of flavor.Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot. Add the chicken stock, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.

Wash and dry the basil leaves. Add to the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Return the soup to low heat, add cream or milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 6 to 8. I packed up the soup while it was still hot and took it down to my friends at West End Gallery for lunch. I served it with Parmesan Basil wheat thins. The next day I made cornbread to go with it for Tom and me.

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