Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tomato Basil Creamy Soup

When we think of soups only one thing comes to mind and that is comfort food. Preparing soup, at home helps us control the amount of salt, needed.
Weather here is cloudy and perfect for a warm cup of home made tomato soup, cooked  with basil ,garlic and seasoning.  Basil ,also known as sweet basil, is a common herb that has very aromatic leaves ,belongs to the mint family and is great addition to  Italian Mediterranean dishes. Whenever possible, I prefer cooking with  fresh herbs.
I also like to prepare home made stock, veg/chicken, and store it for later use, in preparing gravies or other soups. 

2 pounds plum tomatoes chopped in cubes
1 small red onion chopped finely
3 to 4 Basil leaves chopped finely
1 tspn freshly minced garlic
salt to taste
2 tspn black pepper
1 tspn sugar 
1 cup or 250 ml chicken or veg stock 
1/2 cup Half n half 
 For croutons, take 3 to 4 slices of bread cut in cubes, lay on baking tray, drizzle with  1 tspn olive oil , salt, black pepper and  bake  for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees , till they turn golden brown croutons. Keep aside.
2 tspn Vegetable Oil/Olive oil

Ripe Tomatoes 

Baked in Oven 

Sauté` onions, garlic

Add in tomatoes and basil leaves 

Tomato Basil Soup

1. Heat 2 tspn vegetable/olive oil in a medium pot ,add in onions and freshly minced garlic, sauté for 4 to 5 minutes till onions get translucent.
2. Chop tomatoes into cubes, and bake them in oven at 350 degrees, for about 20 minutes and then add to the soup, to get a smoky taste in the soup.
3. Add in basil and baked tomatoes,and the seasoning. Next add in stock and cover to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.
3.Check for salt, if less add 1/2 tspn more,add in 1 tspn sugar and 1/2 cup cream. Take off the burner and allow mixture to come to room temperature.Using a hand blender mix the soup roughly for 2 to 3 minutes , not making it too smooth.

This tomato soup is served hot and its texture is thick and hearty. Pour hot soup into a soup bowl and garnish with prepared croutons.

Vegetable Soup stock
To prepare Vegetarian soup stock ( Stores well in freezer for later use) Vegetable soup stock Recipe
2 medium carrot,potato, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 red onion cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tomatoes cubed 1 inch
2 tspn salt
1/4  tspn black peppercorns
1 stalk celery chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic minced
1 inch fresh ginger chopped

1.In a medium sized heavy bottomed pan, heat 2 tspn oil,add in peppercorns, sauté` onions, garlic, ginger for about 2 to 3 minutes,add in carrots,potato, celery, allow to cook for another few  minutes. 
2. Add  6 glasses of water ,bring to a boil, allow to continue to cook for another 30 to 40 minutes and as it cools ,  Blend the mixture in a blender and sieve through a strainer, the soup stock is now ready . A perfect base for using to make soup or gravies, also stock made at home is better in taste and lower in sodium content.

Ready stock can be stored in plastic container for more than a month in the freezer of the refrigerator. Remember to defrost the stock  before using for soups or gravies.


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