This soup is a staple at our house during the fall and winter months. At the end of summer when tomatoes are at their ripest, I buy boxes and boxes of them (when I don't have a garden) to preserve. A lot of the tomatoes I turn into salsa and spaghetti sauce. The rest I just peel and puree, then freeze in about 2 quart quantities. It makes preparing this soup a cinch, since most of the work is already done!! Even in the middle of winter, we can have this soup and it still tastes like it just came out of the garden. Simple, fresh ingredients are key to making this soup taste "soup"er.
Fresh Tomato-Basil Soup
8 cups (2 quarts) fresh tomato puree (about 10-12 vine-ripened tomatoes)
chicken soup base
1 cup heavy cream (can substitute full-fat coconut milk for non-dairy)Coarse salt and black pepper
20 leaves fresh basil, cut into chiffonade, for garnish
To blanch and peel tomatoes, bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Fill a sink full of ice water. Working in batches, score the bottom of the tomatoes. Place in boiling water for 60 seconds. Remove immediately and place in ice bath. Repeat with remaining tomatoes.
Once tomatoes are cooled, drain water from sink. Core tomatoes and slip skins off. Puree tomatoes either with a food processor or working in batches in a blender. Don't worry If you have a little more or less than 8 cups.
Add tomato puree to a large stock pot. Add enough chicken soup base for 2 cups and bring to a boil. Once chicken base is completely dissolved, taste for seasoning and add more, to taste.
Gently simmer for about 5 minutes, add cream and simmer another 2-3 minutes. Taste again for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Remove from heat and add most of the basil, leaving some for garnish.
*If you don't have access to fresh tomatoes, you can use 2 28-oz can of good quality crushed tomatoes (Cento, San Marzano).