Creamy Tomato and Basil Soup

http://dawnoffood.comMy son and I went to an Italian chain restaurant and he had the soup of the day.  That day, it was creamy tomato basil soup.   He completely fell in love with it and asked if he could make it at home.  Of course!  I told him to “google” it and see what if he could find a recipe that he wanted to try.  He did and it was really amazing.  There are a few ingredients that gave me pause.

I like to rant and my rant today is about flour based soups.  I understand the desire to have a creamy soup with great mouth feel.  I really do.  But the line between creamy soups and gloppy mess is very fine.  One time my kid ordered the cream of crab soup at a local crab shack.  The soup was uninspired goop.   When he placed his spoon back into the soup bowl, it actually just sat on top of the soup.  It didn’t sink.  At all.   Of all the ingredients in cream of crab soup, flour is probably among the least expensive.  So, I can see the desire to maximize the use of flour in soup from a profit motive.  On the other hand, yuck.  Why must thick = good when it comes to creamy soup?

So I was skeptical about the use of flour in this recipe.  I’m going to work with this recipe and see if I can come up with something else.  However, I should mention, this soup is really sublime.  It’s very balanced and just wonderful.

As a bonus, this recipe is super easy for kids to make.  My son made this with little to no help from me.  It’s a big impact dish, with very little fuss.

From Maggiano’s

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

1 Cup Onion, diced 1″ pieces
1/3 Cup Unsalted Butter
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Garlic Puree
1/4 Cup Flour
1 Qt Chicken Stock (we used water)
1 Jar of Marinara Sauce  (24-25 ounces)
1 1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 tsp Salt & Pepper
1 tsp Roasted Garlic
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil, diced 1/2″ pieces
8 tsp Fresh Basil, julienned (for garnish)

Cooking Instructions:
1. In a large soup pot, melt butter over medium-heat. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add thyme, roasted garlic and garlic puree. Continue to cook for approximately 3 minutes more. Reduce heat and add flour. Mix with whisk until flour is incorporated. Cook 2 minutes more.
2. Add the chicken stock and marinara and bring to a boil. Add salt, pepper and heavy whipping cream and simmer for 15 minutes, skimming the impurities that rise to the surface.
3. Using a food processor, puree all the ingredients together, strain and add basil. We used an immersion blender for this step.  Made it much, much easier.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Garnish with 1 tsp of julienned basil per bowl.

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