Tomato basil soup is my go to comfort food. Admittedly this is not a tomato soup that screams tomato flavor, it is a cream based soup and therefore has a certain subtlety. It is good for a dinner party soup course, it is good for cold, crisp autumn days, it is great for when you are under the weather, particularly because this is the easiest soup you will ever make.
1 (28 oz) can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes
12 oz Tomato Juice
1 stick of Butter
8 oz Cream
12 Basil Leaves
1 tablespoon Salt
1 teaspoon Pepper
Empty the can of whole tomatoes into a medium sized sauce pot (including the liquid). Break up the tomatoes with your hands (beware, they will squirt you). Add tomato juice. Place the pot over medium heat and being to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes.
While your tomatoes simmer, prepare your basil. If you are going for sheer practicality and ease of consumption then the easiest thing to do is to mince or chop the basil. If, however, you are going for a bit of a wow factor you will want to chiffonade the basil. The easiest way to chiffonade is to start by stacking your basil leaves neatly (all facing the same direction). Once you have done that, role the stack of basil leaves like a cigar. Place your “cigar” seam-side down on the cutting board. Using a sharp knife with a flat blade (not serrated), cut across the “cigar” on the opposite end of the leave from the stems creating very thin ribbons. Discard the last portion of the basil where the stems are.
When your tomatoes have simmered for 30 minutes add in the butter and the cream. Stir until completely combined. Add in the salt and the pepper. Using either a stick blender or traditional blender pulse the soup until it is completely smooth. If you are using a traditional blender do the soup in batches and don’t fill the blender more than halfway full as hot liquid will expand when you turn on the power and it is not fun to clean tomato soup off of your ceiling (or yourself for that matter). Stir in your basil and you are ready to serve.
Tips and tricks:
A common way to serve tomato basil soup is with croutons (as opposed to crackers)
If you are going to make this soup ahead of time and reheat it to serve, do not add in your basil until after you heat it again.
Buying a basil plant is very often cheaper than buying packaged basil and it regenerates. If you have a little natural light in your kitchen your basil will be perfectly happy. Otherwise it is very easy to grow in a pot on your porch or balcony.
This recipe was given to me by a woman I worked with in college. It is based on the tomato basil soup that is served at La Madeleine’s cafe (a chain in Texas and Louisiana), but to my knowledge this is not their actual recipe.
This recipe will make 4 to 6 servings (depending on how big of a serving you want).