Sunday, January 31, 2010

the winter warming roasty tomato soup

In the lull of the close of one the chilly season's worst months, a dear friend and I decided to occupy our time with our first attempt at a slurpable concoction of roasted, juicy tomatoes and fresh basil. Although not fond of many Food Network stars, we took our recipe lead from Mr. Florence, and I can't deny that his devised blend far surpassed what I had expected from the combining tastes.

Although, like any first cooking attempt with any pairing of people, there's always a challenge. And, through barrelling laughs and bits of broken blender sucked into our soup (yes, there was a reason Tyler suggested using an immersion blender, not the norm' in the blending machine world), the overall flavor of our friendly swirl boosted my winter blues with just a few brief swigs.

Roasted Tomato Soup
adapted from Tyler Florence

2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (mix of fresh heirlooms, cherry, vine and plum tomatoes)
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 small yellow onions, sliced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 quart chicken stock
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, optional
3/4 cup heavy cream, optional

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves. Spread the tomatoes, garlic cloves and onions onto a baking tray. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized.

Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot. Add 3/4 of the chicken stock, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.

Wash and dry basil leaves, if using, and add to the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Return soup to low heat, add cream and adjust consistency with remaining chicken stock, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish in a bowl with a few leaves of basil and enjoy the bite of roasted reds, via your spoonfuls.