Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

I had such a nice winter break at home. Though, I didn't completely take a break because in between celebrating holidays, I worked on my research. I did do a good deal of cooking, but I mainly prepared recipes that had already been posted on this blog for my family. Towards the end of my break, however, I got a case of the sniffles and lost my appetite for the most part...except that I was craving tomato soup from a restaurant that's in Texas, but not Indiana. When I got back to Texas, instead of going to the restaurant for one serving of soup, I decided to prepare a huge pot of soup that would last me for days. This was easy to prepare and fairly inexpensive because it didn't require fresh tomatoes or basil. Actually, condensed canned tomato soup is one of my top least favorite foods of all time, but I do like tomato basil, which has a more grown-up flavor. I find when I use fresh tomatoes in cooked recipes, some of the flavor doesn't come through in the end but using canned tomatoes gives a rich tomato flavor. You could use fresh basil if you want, but I like the flavor of the dried, plus in the winter fresh basil may be hard to find and/or expensive. I like a creamy touch to tomato soup, so I added cream but you could leave it out if you prefer.

I chose to cut the tomatoes in half because I wanted the juices inside the tomatoes to mingle with the broth. I figured if I left them whole and crushed them later, then maybe they would water down the nice simmered flavor I had been working on.

This soup is especially good when sipped out of a mug while sitting on the couch...being sick isn't a requirement, of course, but if you happen to be, this is a good dose of vitamin C!

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
Printable Recipe

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 28-oz cans whole roma tomatoes, each tomato cut in half
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 tsp dried basil
3/4 cup heavy cream or well-shaken canned coconut milk
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat a large saucepan or a stock pot over medium heat. Add the oil, then the carrots and onion and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, a couple of minutes. Pour in the tomatoes with their juice, broth, and the basil. Simmer 45 min to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
2. Remove the soup to a blender or food processor and blend. Or, use an immersion blender and blend until smooth. As an optional step, you can sieve the soup for a smoother texture (though I don't). Return the soup to the pan on medium heat.
3. Pour in the cream or milk. Taste for seasoning. I have found that I don't need salt because the broth and tomatoes are salty enough, but do like a good amount of pepper. Cook just a couple of minutes to re-warm the soup and serve.

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