Monday, July 2, 2012

Tomato Basil Soup

I mentioned in my last post that I've been trying out new recipes.  Mondays are hard because I'm not home at dinner time (I'm at the gym).  I like to make something that is easy for Mark and doesn't require much work on his part.  He's great in the kitchen, but I know the last thing he wants to do when he gets home after work is make food!  Slow cooker recipes are usually so easy and convenient, so I thought I would try one out today.  I found the recipe on Pinterest, but ended up changing it up a bit.  It's a Tomato Basil Soup, which is a favorite soup around this house.  I've been known to really screw up a roux before, but I made it work and the soup turned out really great.  We paired it with garlic toast on ciabatta bread.  Yummy! 

Tomato Basil Soup 
Makes about 2 quarts (about 8 servings)
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano (I used dried)
1 T dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil (I used fresh)
4 cups vegetable broth (I added a little bit of McKay's Chicken Seasoning)
½ bay leaf
Ingredients for roux 
½ cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed (I used almond milk)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1.  Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, vegetable broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to your slow cooker.

2.  Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
3.  About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux.

Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper.  Add additional basil and oregano if needed (the slow cooker does a number on spices and they get bland over time, so don’t be afraid to always season to taste at the end).
4.  Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.

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