Tomato Basil Soup
By Shannon O'Donnell
There is a wonderful chain of restaurants on the East Coast called 'La Madeleine'...whenever we'd visit our family in the D.C. area when I was growing up, my Mom and I would be sure to get in a jaunt to the French-themed eatery for a bowl of their signature tomato basil soup.
I've scoured around for the recipe, and I think this one (a combination of various recipes for tomato basil soup that I've found) gets pretty close. Usually I roast my tomatoes for soup, but this one just calls for fresh tomatoes, and with the skins on to boot. Easy! Serve with French bread to sop up the tidbits in the bowl.
Tomato Basil Soup
2 T butter
2 small onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup brandy or vermouth
3 pounds of roma tomatoes, chopped.
1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup whipping cream
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil leaves for garnish
Shredded parmesan to top
Crusty loaf of French bread, sliced
1) In a large, heavy stock pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring here and there, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
2) Add the brandy or vermouth and stir in, cooking for 2 minutes.
3) Add fresh tomatoes, basil and broth, stirring in and cooking another 5 minutes.
4) Removed from heat and puree soup with a hand held immersion blender. Can also puree in small batches in a traditional blender.
5) (Add puréed soup back to stock pot if you used a traditional blender) Stir in whipping cream, salt and pepper to taste. Add a bit more cayenne pepper if you'd like it spicier! Keep on low heat, stirring often, until ready to serve.
6) Divide into bowls and top with basil leaf garnish. Pass parmesan at the table, along with French bread.
When she's not forecasting, Shannon O'Donnell enjoys putting together tasty, season-appropriate meals and goodies for her friends and family.