Cat Buxton loves tomato soup! Topped with chopped fresh basil and accompanied by fresh bread, this bisque is like liquid summer to her, perfect on a cool late summer evening. Leftover soup poured over pasta and baked with cheese is pretty amazing too. A food processor or blender and a food mill make this soup very easy. If you do not have a food mill we recommend getting one. Cat uses a hand crank Foley food mill which are inexpensive, last for years, and can be purchased at your local hardware or kitchen store. The mill is excellent for removing seeds and skin of peppers and tomatoes. You can leave the seeds and skins or you can remove them by hand before you roast the peppers and tomatoes. See our tip for removing tomato skins. Cat also likes to make this soup in the winter using tomatoes she canned in the summer.
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1 med yellow onion peeled and quartered
- 2 med carrots rough chopped
- 2 ribs celery rough chopped
- 4 med cloves garlic peeled
- 1 (optional) jalapeño pepper or serano; adds heat (Leave out if you like it mild)
- 1 small bell pepper any color; halved, remove stem
- 10 large tomatoes any variety; halved, remove stem or 1 qt canned tomatoes
- 2 t maple syrup or sugar
- 1/4 c heavy cream
- 1/4 c fresh basil finely chopped
- 1/4 t each salt and fresh ground pepper adjust to taste
- 2 c (if nec.) water
Grease one or two glass lasagna pan with plenty of olive oil. A few T per pan should do it — use plenty because extra oil adds great body to this bisque. Roast the peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic, carrots, & celery at 350° for about 30 minutes, or until the skins of the tomatoes are wrinkled and the tomato juice is bubbling.
Remove from the oven and let it cool just enough to be able to run it through the blender or food processor. Use a rubber spatula to scrape as much of the oil into the mix as you can. Purée lightly to chop it all up evenly. Transfer through the food mill to remove the seeds and skins. Transfer back to the food processor and add in the cream and half of the fresh basil. Purée until you have a smooth consistency.
Transfer into a soup pan and heat on medium low. Stir in the sweetener and salt and pepper. If necessary, add water to thin the soup to your desired consistency; if you are using tomatoes that are juicy, you won’t need any water!
Serve hot. Garnish each bowl with a bit of the remaining fresh basil and cubes of your favorite cheese.
photos: CCF staff