I follow John Legend's wife, model, and sometimes food blogger, Chrissy Teigen on Instagram, and she's posted at least three or four separate times (in the span of like a month) about this tomato-basil soup that she's addicted to making; after her latest round of pictures about it, I made a mental note to make this soup as soon as I got the chance. Coincidentally, Christopher and I have been eating a lot of tomato-basil soup lately, when we go to lunch or something, it's something we always get, so this soup had been on both of our brains a lot lately—surprisingly, he was the one who actually vocalized that he wanted to make some of his own, and because he never cooks, or talks about cooking, I was kind of impressed.
The first attempt wasn't bad at all, we pretty much followed Ina Garten's recipe verbatim (this is the one Chrissy uses), and while it was really tasty, we knew we had to tweak it a bit. For starters, we like our tomato soup a bit more on the chunkier side, we like a little bit of sweetness, more intense tomato flavor, and a more intense garlic/onion flavor, so with these things in mind, we happily sipped on it, made notes, and I got started on a second batch no less than a week later— I totally understand now why Chrissy has made this soup so many times in such a short period of time, it's really that good.
3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
- 4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 quart chicken stock or water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in one layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.
In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.
Recipe via Barefoot Contessa
Our changes include roasting the onion and garlic, to do this, smash your garlic cloves with the side of your kitchen knife until they are easy to peel. Quarter your onions (peel off the skin), and place everything on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with some kosher salt, and roast for about 40 minutes (I placed my onions and garlic on the bottom rack, under my tomatoes, and just checked on them frequently to make sure they weren't burning).
To add sweetness, I simply added regular sugar one tablespoon at a time, until it tasted the way we liked it. I've been reading that people like to add carrots for sweetness, so, that's also something to consider, if you don't want to add sugar.
The last two changes we made were to add a can of sun-fired tomatoes to help intensify that tomato flavor, we added this into the mix just after adding the roasted tomatoes, and let it all cook down together. Once the tomatoes and basil cooked down, we used an immersion blender to smooth out the texture, and then we added in a can of diced tomatoes after to give us a nice blend of smooth and chunky textures. We brought the soup back up to a simmer, and let it all cook for about 10-15 minutes, until everything was all cooked through, and seasoned well. Just at the end we added in a bit of heavy cream, but that's completely optional.
I definitely recommend this recipe to anyone, and everyone! It's so comforting, and delicious. As always, I hope you get to try this out, and if you do, let me know how you like it!
PS. To make your own garlic bread:
1 French Baguette 1-2 TBSP of olive oil Italian Seasoning (optional) 1/2 Clove of Garlic
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
Slice a fresh baguette into eight 1/2 inch pieces, drizzle with olive oil (don't saturate it, just about a tablespoon or two worth of oil should do it for all the pieces). I also like to add Italian seasoning on top (like crushed red peppers, thyme, oregano. etc).
Place the pieces onto a baking sheet or a pizza stone (my preferred method), and bake for 5 minutes on one side, using tongs, flip the pieces over, and cook for about another five minutes, or until the edges are golden-brown.
Once your bread is out of the oven, gently rub your garlic clove over the top of each piece of bread.
Photography by Tasha James