Basil Tomato Soup

Basil Tomato Soup

Basil Tomato Soup

Sometimes people ask me why I can so many tomatoes. There are several reasons. Canned tomatoes are very versatile. They can be turned into sauce or used in soup, chili, stew etc… Plus they taste amazing. Whenever the snow is flying and I open a jar of my canned tomatoes the aroma reminds me of a warm summer day. They are full of vitamins and minerals and when they are in season they are so abundant I can’t stand to see a single one go to waste. I find them very handy when I need something for dinner. Give me a jar of tomatoes and a reasonable pantry and I can make any number of things. A couple of days ago I decided to have friends over for dinner and I needed a first course. I wanted soup and used my canned tomatoes for inspiration. The end result was quite wonderful. I have already had requests from several of the guests for the recipe. So here it is…

Basil Tomato Soup 

2 onions, peeled and chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1 rib celery, washed and sliced

1 qt. stock- any kind will do- I had turkey stock so that is what I used

1 qt. canned tomatoes- or a 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes

2 T. basil paste*

salt and pepper to taste

1 c. diced ham- I used turkey ham because that’s what I had

Combine onions and other veggies in a pot with the stock and tomatoes and cook, covered until veggies a re really tender- about 30 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot or puree, in batches, in a blender until smooth and return soup to pot. If using a blender be careful blending hot liquids. Cover the top with a towel and only do small amounts at a time.  Add the basil paste and ham and adjust seasonings. Simmer until heated through. Serves 6-8.

* Basil paste is available in many grocery stores. I make my own. I place fresh basil in a blender or food processor and add olive oil until the mixture is a paste consistency. Then I freeze the mixture in ice cube trays. Olive oil will freeze solid. Once frozen I remove the “cubes” and store in the freezer in freezer bags. They are ready whenever I need them.  If you don’t have fresh basil or basil paste 2 t. dried basil could be used.

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