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TOMATO SOUP AND CREAMY TOMATO SOUP

Preparation - Easy; Time - 30 mins
Serves 4

Best with fresh, ripe tomatoes but you can also used canned.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, scraped and finely diced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups cored, peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes OR 1 28 oz can, juice included
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, preferably warmed
  • fresh parsley or basil leaves finely chopped for garnish
OO Large, heavy saucepan.

METHOD:
  1. IN a saucepan or casserole large enough to hold the soup, heat the oil or butter; add the chopped carrot, onion and salt and pepper to taste and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until onion is transparent but NOT browned.
  2. ADD the tomatoes and the herb and cook until the tomatoes break up, about 10 minutes.
  3. ADD 2 cups of stock. (You may prepare the soup in advance up to this point. Cover, refrigerate for up to 2 days, and reheat before proceeding.)
  4. ADJUST seasoning; if the mixture is too thick, add a little warm stock or water.
  5. GARNISH and serve.
VARIATION: Pureed Tomato Soup - Increase the tomatoes to 4 cups and reduce the stock to 1 cup. When the soup is done, puree it carefully in a blender or pass it through a food mill. Reheat, garnish, and serve preferably with croutons.

VARIATION: Cream of Tomato Soup - In the above variation, substitute 1 cup cream or mascarpone for the stock, added just before pureeing.

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