You can’t go wrong with a classic like tomato soup. It’s hearty, it’s warm, it’s rich, and paired with a grilled cheese, it’s the epitome of comfort food that takes you back to your childhood.
Chances are, you grew up with the canned tomato soups. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you would be amazed at how easy it actually is to make your own from scratch. Even better, this gives you a chance to get creative with the flavors you want to put in your soup! With my recipe, I added in the basil because it’s a classic match with tomato, and the bacon gives it a salty twist that you’ll keep going back for again and again.
I do include instructions for how to roast your own fresh tomatoes for this dish, but if you’re more pressed for time, canned tomatoes will still work great. If you find that you’re working with tomatoes that are a little on the tart side, adding a splash of heavy cream at the end of the cooking process will be a great way to round out all the flavors. (Just don’t add it too early on, otherwise it will separate and leave an oily appearance in the soup. Not exactly appealing to look at.)
If you want a perfect way to spend a chilly day, whip up a pot of this soup, grab a blanket and your favorite book, and make yourself comfy by the fireplace. Enjoy!
Basil-Bacon Tomato Soup
2 lbs tomatoes (if using canned tomatoes, two 14.5 oz cans of whole or crushed tomatoes, along with 2 TBSP of tomato sauce)
2 slices of bacon
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1/2 cup heavy cream
To roast the tomatoes, preheat the oven to 450F. Cut the tomatoes in half, and toss them with a little olive oil before arranging on a baking sheet. Place in the oven, and roast for 15-20 minutes. (If you’re using cherry tomatoes for this, they could be finished in as little as 10 minutes.) When finished, the skins will shrink back slightly, and they will have just the slightest bit of browning along the edges. Remove from the oven, and set aside.
In a stockpot, cook the bacon over medium heat until it is crispy and the fat has rendered out. Add the onions, and cook and stir until the onions are translucent. Add in the garlic and oregano, and cook until fragrant, about another minute. Add the tomatoes and broth, and bring up to a simmer. Cover the pot, and let the soup simmer for 30-35 minutes. When the time’s up, remove the lid, add the basil, salt, and pepper, and use a stick blender to purée until smooth. If you want to add heavy cream, stir it in quickly just before removing the pot from the heat. Serve with your side of choice.
Makes about 6 servings.