Cottage Tomato Soup with Toast

DSC_2715-2It’s the end of harvest time for garden produce! And with the extra-warm summer we’ve enjoyed here in Montana, this years tomato crop is abundant and affordable.

I’m a huge advocate for using seasonal produce to maximize freshness so this month’s recipe for my creamy tomato soup is no exception. Select fully sun-ripened tomatoes that are slightly soft to the touch. A mix-and-match of varieties adds flavors, though I much prefer the locally grown heirloom tomatoes I find at Farmers Market.

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While you’re shopping, be sure to buy some Montana grown yellow onion and basil (if you’re not lucky enough to have them growing in your own garden). And of course, a loaf or two of fresh baked bread!

With the crisp change of season into Autumn, the freshest garden vegetables at hand, and the unbeatable #1 favorite soup of American kids, you’ll find this nutritional and tasty soup the perfect choice for family dinner this month.

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Homemade Tomato Soup

2 T olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 lb. ripe tomatoes, peeled, then diced
4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 c. fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 c. 1/2 n 1/2 cream
1/2 c. parmesan cheese, grated
8 1” thick slices of french bread, buttered on both sides

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Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Place buttered bread slices on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, 10 minutes. Set aside

In a large soup pan, over medium heat, add the oil, onion, and garlic and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stock. Raise the heat to high and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid, and cook until the tomatoes are softened, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. In a blender or food processor, puree the soup if you like it smooth. If you prefer chunky soup, eliminate this step. With the soup back in the pot, over low heat, add the cream and basil stirring well until the soup is hot again. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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To serve, place a slice of your toasted bread to a soup bowl then gently ladle the soup on top. Garnish with sprinkles of parmesan cheese adding a basil leaf for a garnish.

Makes 8 servings.

As an alternative flavor option, add a few drops of your favorite red hot sauce or jalapeño pepper juice with the other ingredients during cooking for a spicy hot tomato soup!

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