Classic Tomato Soup
Garnish: basil leaf or chiffonade basil
Serve with: baby grilled cheese sandwich (I think we should make grilled cheese sandies on sourdough and cut them into babies and hold them someplace warmish)
3 pounds butter (divided into 2 pounds and 1 pound)
1 cup olive oil
8 large onions, thinly sliced
16 sprigs fresh thyme or 4 tsp dried thyme
35 basil leaves, chopped
½ cup salt
2 TB pepper plus more to taste
9 quarts canned whole tomatoes
1 ½ cups tomato paste
1 ½ cups AP flour
8 quarts chicken broth
2 TB sugar
6 cups heavy cream
Melt 2 pounds butter and add olive oil. Add onion, thyme, basil and salt and pepper and cook stirring occasionally until onion is wilted and soft. Add tomatoes (use scissors to cut up pieces or a spoon, but its all getting blended in the end any way, but flavors will meld better if you break up big pieces early) and tomato paste and stir. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes.
Put the flour in a bowl and add a cup of the chicken broth, stirring to blend. Stir this into the tomato mixture, then add all the remaining chicken broth and bring back up to a simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes. Stirring frequently from bottom to top to make sure the soup doesn’t scorch (if it does scorch a little in a big batch so just make sure we leave the scorched part in the pot and don’t blend it).
Let cool slightly and then blend the soup in batches. Return to heat, add sugar and cream. Add remaining butter, swirling to melt. If it’s too thick (tomato soup should not be too thick) reduce flour in next batches and thin present batch with more stock.