Okay, you’re going to think I’m weird, but I have never eaten tomato soup in my life. Seriously. It’s been cold and windy here lately, so I’ve been craving soup. I’ve had this recipe in my list of things to try for some time, so I decided to go ahead and try it. I will definitely be making this again. This is a great soup to have on a cold day. Roasting the tomatoes makes them incredibly rich and the fresh basil gives the soup a wonderful hint of fresh herb sweetness. It’s great for a light lunch or along with a salad and crusty bread or sandwiches for dinner. I served this with grilled cheese sandwiches and it was a hearty wintertime meal. This recipe makes a large batch, but it’s even better the next day, and it freezes beautifully. Directions for freezing follow the recipe.

Tomato Basil Soup

2 28 oz. cans whole tomatoes
salt and pepper
1/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 carrots
2 ribs celery
1 yellow onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
4 Tbsp. butter
1 can chicken broth
1 bay leaf
12 to 14 leaves fresh basil
1 c. heavy cream, optional

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Strain tomatoes, reserving juice. Place the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1/4 c. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, or until caramelized.

While tomatoes are roasting, chop the carrots, celery and onion. Heat 2 Tbsp. butter and the remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large saucepan. Saute the vegetables, along with the chopped garlic for 10 minutes, or until softened. Remove tomatoes from the oven and add them to the pan, along with the reserved tomato juice, chicken broth, and bay leaf. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Add basil and remaining 2 Tbsp. butter. Puree in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender. Add cream before serving.

*If you’d like to freeze the soup, you may do so, but do not add the cream before freezing. Thaw and reheat and add the cream before serving.

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