Sometimes we need comfort food.
I needed some.
I have spent the last couple of months moving. Moving involves packing and hauling and fixing and cleaning and driving and maybe driving again and packing and hauling and cleaning some more. In my case, it was from my very lovely, very comfy house in Idaho, that our family lived in for 13 years, to an itty-bitty apartment in California. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s been a lot of work. Moving always takes a lot of energy and it can be physically and emotionally draining. Bottom line–I was tired and needed some comfort food.
Now, Leif hadn’t been on the same schedule I was. I’m typically the packer, hauler, fixer when we move but I’m no spring chicken anymore and I was beat so he was going to cook. I have a favorite comfort food he makes for me. It’s beef tips and gravy with red potatoes (SO good), but for whatever reason, when he asked if that was what I wanted, I didn’t. I wanted Tomato Basil Soup.
I have no idea why.
Regardless, Leif delivered. I am a lucky woman.
He’s so funny because he chops food way bigger than I like. I’m always telling him to chop meat or veggies into smaller pieces but he can’t seem to do it. I guess he just likes big, chunky pieces of food because he’s a big guy! This soup recipe called for the combined ingredients to be put through a food mill but we don’t own a food mill. I honestly don’t know anybody who does. My parents had one back in the day for making applesauce but, like I said, that was back in the day.
A food mill is a cross between a food processor and a sieve and according to Cook’s Illustrated, “Unlike a food processor or blender [. . . ] a food mill does not incorporate air into the puree, thereby altering its texture. The result is a denser puree that is ideal for foods like applesauce or tomato sauce.”
There you go. So, this soup recipe was supposed to be “milled” but Leif left it in big chunks of tomatoes and big pieces of basil. Very rustic. There is a food processor and a blender in our cupboard but maybe he didn’t know where to find them since he wasn’t used to where everything is in the kitchen. Maybe?
I was too tired to care and the soup tasted excellent so it didn’t matter. The next day I did blend the leftovers. The pictures in this post are the following day’s lunch soup. It was still excellent. In fact, I had it three days in a row. Like I said, I needed comfort food. I still have no idea why this Tomato Basil Soup fit the bill, but it did.
This recipe calls for a LOT of basil (4 cups!) and a LOT of garlic (6 cloves!) but man-o-man it’s tasty–just fresh and satisfying. I am definitely going to make this soup again in the summer when tomatoes and basil are perfectly in season. It’ll be divine! I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I did.
- 3 pounds plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
- ¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups yellow onions, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 (28 oz) can plum tomatoes with their juice
- 4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 quart chicken stock or water
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss together the tomatoes, ¼ cup olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Spread the tomatoes in one layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.
- In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Blend in a food processor or blender. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.