December 6, 2005
The Redhead's Tomato Basil Soup

Sacrifice is what's needed for a great recipe and my wife sacrificed last night when she somehow punctured the meaty part of her palm with a small knife. Although this soup is very red, I can assure those non-anthropophagists (and I'm not entirely certain about Biggles) that no animal or spousal bits and pieces or byproducts are in the final pot.

If she'd made this soup with Winter tomatoes, the soup might have needed that red boost. Winter tomatoes in most of the Northern Hemisphere are sad, sad things. They smell like... nothing and the flavor usually matches.

The best, most flavorful, and reddest tomatoes for a soup in the winter are those that come from a can and were put in the can RIPE in the summer. That's what was used for this soup. One of the cans of tomatoes she used packed the fruits in paste, but the other did not. I'm not sure it matters. If you don't have tomatoes packed in paste, add some of your own or let the soup simmer longer to concentrate the flavors.

This is a thin soup, which is great for loosening up the sinuses. Make a big pot of this soup and enjoy it with grilled cheese on a snowy day, preferably after sledding down a hill into a snowbank.

So how exactly did the Redhead stab herself in the hand? I saw the whole thing, and I still don't know how it happened. She was putting a small knife away somewhat casually, and it bit her, point first. It's a good reminder to always respect the blade, because the blade knows when you're not paying close enough attention.

The Redhead's Tomato Basil Soup

1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 32oz. cans whole or crushed tomatoes, with juice
15-20 fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 minced scallions
4 cups vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
2 cups red wine of your choice (we used a California Zinfindel)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in the bottom of a stock pot or dutch oven. add the onions and garlic and sautee over medium-high heat until the onions are translucent, but before they take on much color.

Crush the tomatoes and break them up into very small pieces. Add the tomatoes with their juice and the stock and stir well.

Mince the fresh basil and add it and the dried basil to the pot. Stir well. Add the wine.

Simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Blend with immersion blender or in a food processor. Serve.

Simple soup, simple pleasure, and done right nobody gets hurt.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at December 6, 2005 7:20 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

Barret, I make this soup often, though I start with a olive oil/butter roux and onions cooked thoroughly, then wine, then tomatoes from a can if not in the summer fresh. Thickens nicely, adds a bit of depth, and I also use fresh thyme along with the basil. Stabbing excluded, glad there's no stiches. From one redhead to another.

Posted by Ginger Wolf on December 6, 2005 at 12:25 PM

Gah! Basil abuse! Bad Barrett! Simmering fresh basil is a waste; just use dried at the beginning, and then garnish with fresh towards the end.

(I also enjoy roasting a few of the tomatoes for an extra layer of flavor, or during bad-tomato months tossing a few rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes into the mix.)

Posted by Sweth on December 6, 2005 at 3:09 PM

We've got tons of the fresh basil. Our plant is enjoying the indoors.

Most people ration the stuff for use only at the end, but it works in the goop as well. Our dried basil is pretty old, so it doesn't have the basil-oomph the fresh had in the soup. The fresh covers that nicely.

If you were rationing your basil, I'd say save it for the end, but if you have plenty, use it wherever you want.

Sun-dried is an interesting addition. Might try that.

Posted by barrett on December 6, 2005 at 3:38 PM

Yeah, yeah. The soup sounds great, yada yada. Hope the Redhead is healing nicely... *Is distracted by her longing for that Dutch oven, or French oven, or whatever. Decides to write a letter to Santa...*

Posted by Monica on December 6, 2005 at 3:49 PM

Ha! Monica, I got that through a promotion I found at Amazon over on Elise's Simply Recipes site back in March. Buy the larger dutch oven and that one in the picture was free (normally $120).

Santa's got room in the sleigh, I'm sure.

Posted by barrett on December 6, 2005 at 3:57 PM

I second the use of the sundried tomatoes. They add great flavor.

Posted by Barbara on December 6, 2005 at 8:32 PM
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