Apparently this is a pretty popular idea though, seeing as how I glanced over at a Food Network magazine last night in line at Publix and saw this exact dish on the cover. Great minds think alike, right??
This was the first tomato soup I have ever made, unless you count the aforementioned Campbells. While I'll probably tweak it as I make it more in the future, I must say I was pleased with how it turned out. It was creamy, but not so thick that I felt like I was slurping down whipping cream. And even with 4 cups of basil the tomato flavor still took center stage. The only thing I might change next time is that I might remove the skins of the tomatoes that I roasted before adding them to the stock pot. That's just a weird texture preference though :)
Just make sure not to add the croutons until you're ready to eat them. Otherwise they tend to sink in the soup and get really soggy. Yuck!
Tomato Basil Soup CCK original inspired by multiple recipes
For the Soup:
3 lbs tomatoes
1/4 C olive oil
1 1/2 tsp pepper
2 large sweet onions, almost quartered *see below
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 C fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 C chicken stock
1 C whole milk
28 oz canned whole plum tomatoes
For the Croutons:
Cheese of choice
*I'm not adding quantities because it all depends on how many croutons you want. And I figured everyone knows the basics of a grilled cheese :)
*I love the flavor of onions but not the texture, so I quartered my onions almost all the way, leaving the onion in tact by the bottom (make two perpendicular cuts, stopping just before you get to the bottom). This way all of the flavor of the onion can be absorbed into the soup and then I just retrieve the whole onions at the end. Because they are still in tact at the bottom I don't have to go fishing around for onion pieces.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Halve tomatoes and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper to evenly coat. Place tomatoes on large pan and roast 45 minutes.
When the tomatoes are almost done roasting, melt butter over medium heat in large stock pot. Add garlic and sautee approximately 5 minutes until fragrant. *If you want you can chop your onions instead of quartering them. If you do this, just sautee the onions during this step with the garlic until translucent.
Add chicken stock, milk, canned tomatoes, basil, and dried thyme. Remove other tomatoes from oven and add to stock pot.
Bring mixture to a boil, then continue to simmer 45 minutes.
Use hand blender to break up soup until it has reached desired consistency. If you don't have a hand blender you can always put your soup in a stand blender. Just know you'll have to do this in batches since the whole recipe won't fit at once.
Add additional salt or pepper if needed.
To make the croutons, lightly spray skillet with oil and place over medium heat.
Butter one side of bread (2 slices for each sandwich you want to make). Place half of the bread slices buttered side down in the skillet. Top with cheese and place remaining bread buttered side up on top of the cheese.
Toast sandwiches until browned, flipping to repeat this step on the other side. Remove sandwiches from skillet and cut into bite sized pieces. Serve with soup.