Monday, October 3, 2011

Roasted Tomato Soup with Creme Fraiche, Bacon, & Basil

I gotta be as blunt as possible with you: this is not a perfect recipe. I was the lucky reciptent of a grocery bag's worth of just-picked garden tomatoes, one of life's grand pleasures if you ask me and a few hours later I gave birth to this recipe which probably needs a bit of tweaking and twisting. But keep reading. I have a point.

Being the soup jockey I am, I opted to make a homemade roasted tomato soup. It just sounded delectable. My mind began soaring into different horizons of possible add-in's and potential garnishes- bacon came rolling instantly into my culinary brains because tomatoes and bacon are a perfect duo in one of my favorite sandwiches, the BLT. Then I thought of whipping cream because the best tomato soups I've ever slurped down in this world involve some kind of dairy thickening agent- creme fraiche in my opinion is step above sour cream and whipping cream, and so there we have it. Lastly, and I hope this doesn't need much elaboration, the meshing of tomatoes and basil is probably one of the most popular and outstanding combinations known to man. From that, I knew I wanted a soup with the dominating role of the garden tomato with assistant key players like bacon, creme fraiche, and basil.

As I said, this recipe, it is NOT perfect. You may find that it needs a heckuvalot more pepper, or some more chicken broth, or less of it. I am usually rushing my brains out to get dinner made all while trying to keep two little cutie pie's happy and thus, my precise note-taking abilities for recording what I've done just gets drowned out in the moment. Apologies if you make this and the measuring seems off. The great thing about soup is that you can keep experimenting with flavors until you reach the pinnacle. Soups are quite flexible and accommodating for mistakes.

I hope, if nothing else, this recipe will give you a base of ideas of which to spring from. I know that we certainly enjoyed the outcome- and it tasted even better the next day. Leftovers, you have saved me more than once.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Crème Fraiche, Bacon, and Basil

3-4 lbs of garden tomatoes, diced into fourths

Olive oil

Salt and pepper-lots of it

1 onion, diced very small.

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1-2 cups chicken broth

1 handful of fresh basil, chiffonaded- a little reserved for garnish

1 cup crème fraiche*

1 package bacon, cooked and crumbled

Preheat your oven to 425 F. Over a large jelly roll pan, place all the tomatoes and using your hands, drizzle olive oil all over. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper. Mix it all together on the sheet pan, and then throw it in the oven. Roast until tomatoes are juicy hot-they will be bubbling, leaking, and the edges will be nice and crispy golden brownish. Take them out and let them cool for 30 minutes or so.

Dump (such refined cooking vocabulary!:) the entire jelly roll pan full of tomatoes and all their oily juices into a blender or food processor. Process until it reaches a consistency you are happy with- you can have it as chunky or as smooth as you wish. I am a total fan of rustic textures, so I left it chunky.

In a large saucepan, drizzle some olive oil and over medium heat stir the onion and garlic cloves until tender. Add the tomato puree and 1 cup of chicken broth (you can add more if it’s not thick enough, or leave it at that if it’s too much liquid). Add tomato paste and bring this mixture to a boil for 20 minutes, adding more liquid if needed. Taste and make sure it’s flavorful enough- you may wish to add more salt and pepper (if adding more salt use caution because chicken broth isn’t exactly known for its dearth of sodium). Reduce the heat to low. Add the fresh basil and a ½ cup of crème fraiche, stirring to incorporate.

Ladle into bowls, garnishing with more fresh basil, bacon, and a dollop of crème fraiche.

*Creme fraiche unfortunately, carries an ugly- high price tag with it. So I make my own- always. And it's seriously just as good. I take 1 cup heavy whipping cream (not whipped though) and a 1/2 cup of sour cream and combine them. In a perfect planning-ahead world, I would let them sit at room temperature for at least 12-24 hours, stirring every so often. In a not-so-perfect-planning-world, I still make it and allow it to sit at room temperature (preferably a warmer spot of the abode) for an hour, stirring once or twice in that time. Refrigerate leftovers.


Holly C M said...

as usual, this looks yummy and delightful--like you!

Camilla said...

I think I would like to try some of this! Looks really good.