I am at a bit of a crossroads… Over the last few months, I had saved dozens and dozens of soup recipes. Soup can be such an easy meal and always sounds great while winter is bringing its wrath outside. On the other hand, I now live in Phoenix. It was 87 degrees in today. Not exactly soup weather. Don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly not complaining about the weather. We’re just going to have soup anyway =)
In reality, this is a soup that would be great in the summer when fresh garden tomatoes are readily available. Not that it was bad when we made it in March. I am among the “tomato soup lovers.” It has always been one of my favorites but is just one of those things that I have never tried to make at home. I wish I hadn’t waited so long. Roasting the tomatoes before adding them to the soup does add an extra step in preparation but do not skip it. It gives a depth to the flavor that I have never tasted before from any of the canned varieties and absolutely makes this soup. Keep this in mind the next time old-man winter decides he hasn’t quite left us yet. Paired with a warm, gooey grilled cheese sandwich, it doesn’t get much more comforting than this. Now, I just need to get better at finding ways to make soup more photogenic =) Enjoy!
3 lbs. ripe tomatoes, halved with seeds scooped out
3 Tbsp. plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. butter
2 c. onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic,minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes, undrained
2 c. fresh basil leaves, torn
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
4 c. low-sodium chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Combine the tomato halves, 3 Tbsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Toss well to combine. Spread out the tomato halves on a large baking sheet lined with foil. Roast the tomatoes for 45 minutes.
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat, combine the remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil with the butter and heat until the butter is melted. Add the onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened slightly, about 7-10 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, 40 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until completely smooth. Alternatively you can use a blender or food processor. If you do, be sure to vent the steam and be careful not to spill the hot liquid!