End-of-Summer Tomato Soup

Makes a big Dutch oven full: enough to eat, share, and have leftovers! (We like to freeze the leftovers for a summery treat in the dead of winter.)

Ingredients

  • 4 T. butter
  • a splash of olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion (medium or large), diced
  • 3 carrots, finely diced
  • ¼ c. flour
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 6 lbs fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans pureed tomatoes, or more fresh tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 4 c. chicken broth (or vegetable broth, if you prefer)
  • 4 t. fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 T. fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 c. light cream or whole milk
  • all-natural bouillon, to taste (if necessary, to add more flavor)

Directions

To peel and seed the tomatoes, fill a large pot halfway full with water. Bring it to a boil, and carefully place the tomatoes in the pot. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon after less than a minute, or when you see some of the skins starting to break or wrinkle. Drain in a colander, and let cool. Slip the skins off, cut off the stem end with a serrated knife. Slice in half and remove the seeds, either by squeezing or scoping them out with your finger. Chop coarsely, trying to save as much of the juices as possible.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven or other large pot. Add the onion and carrot and cook over medium heat until almost tender. Add the garlic and continue cooking a few more minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes. Do not allow to brown. Add seeded and peeled tomatoes, canned tomatoes (if using), tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, stirring every few minutes, for 30 minutes or longer (the longer it simmers the better it tastes). Halfway through simmering, add the fresh thyme. Toward the end of simmering, add the fresh basil. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding bouillon if you want. Puree the soup (preferably with an immersion blender to avoid extra dishes and potentially squirting soup all over the kitchen!). Add the cream or milk and heat on low for a few minutes, tasting to adjust the seasonings one last time. Serve with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan and/or grilled cheese on artisan bread.