guess what? that beautiful girl i was talking about the other day is still sick. which means the barrage of soup will continue until she gets better.
so far, we have had japanese soft shell turtle hot pot (a.k.a. suppon) at makoto‘s restaurant, miso ramen, kitsune udon, and potato bacon and leek chowder. and all the while, i’ve been cramming tea into her every opportunity i get.
so when a friend and coworker of mine decided to hand me what appeared to be every leaf from an entire fully grown basil plant while we were at work the other day, i immediately began thinking of delicious things that might lift the curse of the common cold. after about five minutes of deliberation, what i decided upon was toasted italian bread, a few slices of cheap man’s chashu, and creamy tomato and basil soup.
creamy tomato basil soup
- a can of stewed tomatoes
- chicken stock
- tomato juice
- black pepper
- about 20 leaves of fresh basil
- heavy whipping cream
- three or four cloves of garlic
- one small onion
- olive oil
- peel the onion and mince it finely, then set it aside in a bowl. do the same with the garlic.
- pour a little bit of olive oil into a pan, and bring it to medium high heat. add the onion and saute it until it turns golden brown and begins to soften. add the garlic, and saute them together until they are both reasonably soft and fragrant.
- add the can of tomatoes (juice and all) and the chicken stock. give the contents of the pot a stir, then add as much black pepper and parsley as you like. make sure to get the garlic and onions off the bottom of the pan and into the aqueous portion of the soup or you will end up with little bitter burnt bits of garlic when you serve your soup.
- bring the soup to a boil, then cover it and take the heat as low as you can. the goal is to keep the soup at a very low simmer. as the soup begins to thicken, you should add the tomato juice a little bit at a time until you reach the flavor profile you want. the soup should taste tomatoy and fresh, but it should also have a little bit of savory kick from the parsley, black pepper, garlic, and onion.
- kill the heat. use a blending wand or a food processor to puree the soup until smooth.
- bring the soup to a simmer once more. while you wait, stack the leaves of your basil. fold the stack in half twice, then cut the leaves into very thin ribbons. set this aside as garnish. if you have extra, you can add them into the soup for flavor, but keep in mind that they may brown with the heat and take away that beautiful bright orange color that will mesmerize all those who choose to partake in your soup.
- once the soup reaches a simmer, kill the heat. slowly pour cold heavy whipping cream into the soup while stirring. the cold cream will cause the soup to thicken a lot over a short period of time. make sure to taste as you go to make sure you like what the cream is doing to the flavor of your soup. don’t let it dilute that freshness you worked so hard to achieve.
- plate the soup in a shallow bowl, then garnish it with those basil ribbons you set aside. serve this soup alongside some perfectly toasted chunks of italian bread and a few pieces of flavorful meat, and you’ll have people asking for seconds, thirds, and fourths (if the soup makes it that long).