Almost a benchmark of American soupmaking, few things are more satisfying than a hearty bowl of hot tomato basil with a toasted sandwich.
Its very ubiquity in the American home and hearth makes a standout recipe for this soup somewhat of a challenge. Canned versions have fueled giant food corporations, and their iconic likeness has even been captured in modern pop art. Fresh tomatoes can be used in this extremely simple yet deceptively subtle recipe but for this variant, the whole canned version performs just as well if not better.
Several elements set this version apart. The first is a long, low braise in a countertop slow cooker that truly coaxes out the most flavor from the ingredients as well as softening the vegetables’ otherwise tough texture. Carrots are included for a hidden sweetness, eliminating the need for both added sugar and dairy in the final product.
Another technique is to use both dried and fresh basil, as the dried herb provides a much more concentrated flavor whereas a handful of fresh leaves fill out the profile with lighter floral notes. A pinch of thyme plays a quiet compliment to the basil, as do hearty shakes of salt and pepper.
This variation on the classic soup is almost so easy as to require no forethought at all. It freezes perfectly, and practically begs for grilled cheese for dipping.
Tomato Basil Soup
28-oz can of tomatoes
½ T basil (dried)
6 basil (fresh)
½ yellow onion
2 c chicken stock
½ t thyme
1 Roughly chop the carrots and onion. Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and season to taste. Cook on low for at least 8 hrs.
2 Purée in batches until smooth.