Friday, January 22, 2010

Basil Tomato Soup ~ 1.22.10

I am a tomato lover- come summertime, you rarely find this house without tomatoes lined up along the counter waiting to be sliced for sandwiches, stacked with buffalo mozzarella and drizzled with olive oil and vinegar or added to salad. I heart tomatoes.

And in the winter, I love a bowl of homemade tomato soup. It's been a few years now that I stopped buying the high fructose corn syrup laden red and white can of Campbell's. I just cannot stomach that stuff. Sorry if you like it- not my cup of soup, so to speak.

So I've been on a quest of sorts to find a soup that:
a) I love and
b) the rest of the family loves, too.

I think I found it.

I've been making this one for quite some time, but I just couldn't stop thinking about how much it tasted like something I should be eating on pasta. I wanted more from my tomato soup. I'm always wanting more in life.

Well, I had this little number sitting in my "files" waiting for the perfect moment to give it a whirl. I think I didn't try it earlier b/c it involved a few more ingredients- ones that I didn't often buy: half and half and green bell peppers. I am NOT a big green pepper fan, but this soup has changed my feelings about that vegetable. I'll definitely be making this one all year long.

I love that it's chock full of veggies - the intense basil flavor helps, too. I'm a professed basil-lover as well.

Basil Tomato Soup
about 8 servings

One tip to making this in a jiffy- save your bacon grease. I keep mine in a little heat proof container, stored in the fridge. Bacon grease is our adds flavor to so many foods that you're preparing and just trust me, you'll thank me that you saved it.

(my notes in italics)

onto the soup...

5 strips of bacon- just used bacon grease from the fridge
1 rib celery, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 small carrot, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 green pepper, cored, seeded and diced
6 fresh basil leaves-chopped, divided- since it's winter, I used cubes of Trader Joe's frozen basil and added it in with the tomatoes
1 tsp minced garlic
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
1 Tbs chicken base or 2 cubes chicken bouillon
1 cup half and half - heavy cream works GREAT, too. I bet this would be just fine without either though
3 jumbo pitted ripe olives, sliced - I omitted this entirely

Cook bacon in stockpot- or if you've got it, just use a Tbs of bacon grease. Drain all but 1-2 Tbs of drippings. Add celery, onion and carrot and cook 2 minutes or until carrot is softened up. Add peppers, half of the basil, and garlic. Cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer over medium heat, breaking them up as they cook, about 5 minutes. Add chicken base and stir to dissolve. I also added a bit of water to my pot to increase the volume of soup, it did not affect the flavor at all, still very tomatoey and intense! Transfer to a blender and puree in batches (always be very CAREFUL when pureeing HOT foods in a blender- fill less than half full and whiz). Return to stockpot. Add half and half, olives and remaining basil. Simmer over medium heat, 45 minutes.


  1. This sounds wonderful!! Any suggestions as to what to use in place of the bacon grease? I don't eat meat and I've never had to look for a replacement for bacon grease before.

  2. I save my bacon grease too, Christina!!! The soup sounds totally delish. I can't wait until I have a kitchen back in order to try it out.

  3. Well, I'm totally bummed. This soup sounds awesome. I was really looking forward to you posting this recipe because a hearty tomato soup and some really yummy grilled cheese sandwich (with provolone cheese) sounded so good to me.

    But I don't have a blender.

    So, I'll have to wait a little while till I run over to Tarjay and get one.

    But I'm saving it in my favorites file right now.