This recipe was originally posted in honor of someone that was very special to us both, and loved by anyone lucky enough to meet him . Sadly he has recently passed, and we would like to dedicate this re-post to him.
Grandpa Jerry, this is for you…
(Re-post from August 18th, 2011):
All pictures were taken with a point and shoot digital camera at my Grandfathers house in Northern Michigan. This soup was his request, he is alive and kicking by the grace of God.
Gotta love the fresh basil!
Soup base not cubes of bullion, make sure the garlic is fresh too, you can taste the difference.
The cayenne pepper really gives this a nice kick, use more or less to your taste.
Did I mention we LOVE fresh basil and garlic?
Make sure the water is REALLY boiling before adding the tomatoes, you do not want to cook, if you do peeling will be much more difficult and messy.
If you peel them in cool water the skins will come off easier.
All skinned and ready to seed.
Plum tomatoes are easier to seed because they have less membranes containing seeds than other tomatoes.
The reason for seeding is because seeds can become bitter, a few “pip’s” here and there will not hurt.
Sweat those onions out first THEN add the minced garlic, otherwise the garlic will burn.
Using the fresh plum tomatoes in lieu of canned adds another layer of freshness you would otherwise miss out on.
A mixed medley of dried Italian herbs was used in this soup because fresh was not available. If you have fresh available the soup will taste even better.
Can you see how the color has changed on the fresh tomatoes?
Make sure the canned tomatoes are peeled. It’s a texture thing and they don’t look good stuck on your teeth.
Now we are getting close.
You cant fake fresh…isn’t the fresh basil beautiful?
You slice the basil just before adding it to the pot, otherwise it discolors and wilts quickly.
Heavy cream is the key. You use less and it will never “break” in the stock.
There is that layer of flavor again, how so little can do so very much!
Rustic looking isn’t it?
Soup is on!
Cream of Tomato basil for Gramps
Large stock pot
1 large sweet onion chopped
1 28oz can peeled and crushed tomato
10 fresh plum tomatoes peeled chopped and seeded
1oz fresh basil leaves rolled and sliced
3 cloves minced fresh garlic
1.5 Tbs chicken base
1 Tbs dried mixed Italian herbs
½ Tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tsp salt
1 Tsp black pepper
1 Tbs olive oil
4 cups water
8oz heavy cream
The fresh tomatoes:
Heat 2 quarts of water to a hard boil. Add the fresh plum tomatoes and stir gently until the skin splits. Remove the tomatoes and peel the skins off. Slice the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. Finely chop the prepared tomatoes and set aside.
Separate the leaves of the basil and stack them on top of one another, roll tightly into a cigar shape and slice thin just prior to adding to the stock. The leaves will discolor if you slice too far in advance.
The onions, garlic and fresh tomatoes:
Chop the onions and mince the garlic. Place the onions in an empty stock pot with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute. Add the chopped fresh plum tomatoes and allow to cook down over medium to medium low heat for about 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender.
All together now:
Add the dry ingredients and soup base to the pot, excluding the fresh basil. Simmer covered stirring occasionally for 15 minutes. Add the can of peeled and skinned crushed tomato along with the 4 cups of water and continue to cook covered over medium heat for another 15 minutes. Add the sliced basil and cook for another 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and remove from heat. Serve immediately.
Crusty toasted bread
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