The perfect recipe for easy, homemade tomato basil soup, featuring fire roasted tomatoes, fresh thyme, and a basil garnish.
I use to think I didn’t like tomato soup. Growing up, the only way I had ever experienced tomato soup was via a can being dumped into a pot on the stovetop and simmered until warm. It was my mom’s method and even my grandmother’s way as well. For my little tastebuds, it was lackluster, yet pungent all at the same time. Two qualities I could happily do without in any dish.
It wasn’t until adulthood, I tried a souped-up version (pun intended…always) from one of my favorite restaurants in town. My eyes were opened and tastebuds awakened to the possibilities of a new favorite soup, and it occurred to me that the canned version from my childhood was one dimensional.
There was no true depth of flavor, so I designed my version to be bright and also deeply flavored by using fire roasted tomatoes and balancing that acidity with ingredients like savory thyme and heavy cream.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE TOMATO SOUP
Homemade tomato soup is one of the easiest soups to make. Seriously. Soup just doesn’t get a whole lot simpler than this, folks. There is minimal chopping, and little time involved. But, before we can make the soup, we first need to know what’s in it.
HOMEMADE TOMATO SOUP INGREDIENTS
The base of homemade tomato soup consists of fresh or canned tomatoes, chicken broth or water, and (if it’s a really good one) cream. First, let’s talk tomatoes.
FRESH TOMATOES VS. CANNED TOMATOES FOR TOMATO SOUP
You can go about making homemade tomato soup two different ways: (1) with fresh tomatoes, or (2) with canned tomatoes. While I’m usually a “fresh is best” kind-of-gal, I have to say, three-quarters of the year, I say canned tomatoes is the way to go, here. However, after you try this soup, you may want to go ahead and stick with it for all twelve months.
You see, outside of tomato season, it can be pretty tough to find brightly flavored tomatoes, without a grainy texture. Canned tomatoes are an excellent substitute, but I do have a few suggestions when it comes to picking the cans.
For the best tomato soup we should use only the best ingredients, don’t ya think? And, since fresh tomatoes are out, and canned tomatoes are in, let’s use the really good canned tomatoes. Crushed, organic, San Marzano tomatoes are the perfect base for an easy homemade tomato soup, and to make it even better, we’ll throw in a can of fire-roasted tomatoes. The fire-roasted tomatoes add an enormous amount of flavor to the soup, and just might the secret ingredient that sets this tomato soup apart from all the rest.
So for the base of our tomato soup, we’ll be using organic, crushed tomatoes and fire-roasted tomatoes, both very acidic ingredients. To offset the acidity, a little granulated sugar does the trick. Chicken broth will help to mellow out the acidity as well. If you do not have chicken broth, you can always substitute water, however, this ingredient certainly lends an extra special savory note to the soup.
Fresh ingredients like chopped onion, minced garlic, basil, and thyme pair add a beautiful depth to the soup, as well as a good ol’ fashioned dried bay leaf, and of course the cream. You didn’t think I’d leave out the cream, did you?
HOW IT ALL COMES TOGETHER
Like I said, easiest soup ever: Onion and garlic are sautéed, canned tomatoes and broth go in, along with seasoning and herbs. Stir, simmer, blend if you want a silky smooth soup (which I most definitely do), add some cream, and boom — soup time.
- 2 tbsp of Olive Oil
- 1 Yellow Onion diced
- 2 Cloves of Garlic minced
- 28 oz Crushed Tomatoes
- 14.5 oz Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
- 4 tsp Granulated Sugar
- 2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 2 c Unsalted Chicken Broth
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 4 Thyme Sprigs
- 1 tbsp Freshly Minced Basil plus extra for garnish if desired
- 1 c Heavy Whipping Cream
Add olive oil to a Dutch oven or a large pot over medium-high heat. Add in onion and saute for 5-7 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and saute 1-2 minutes longer. Add in the crushed and fire roasted tomatoes along with sugar, salt, pepper, broth, bay leaf, and thyme. Allow to come to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low.
Allow to briskly simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes until slightly reduced, stirring occasionally. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until almost completely smooth.
Alternatively, ladle the soup into a food processor or blender, a couple cups at a time, and pulse. Take care not to let steam build up in either machine. This can be accomplished by removing the tube feed from either device and covering instead with a dish towel while pulsing.
Place the pulsed soup into a large mixing bowl until all of the soup has been processed. Return soup to the Dutch oven. Stir in the basil and cream and allow to simmer 10 minutes more. Remove from the heat, garnish with basil, serve and enjoy