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Recipe of the Week: September Tomato Soup

by Leigh Sackett

My garden was a late bloomer but it produced and some of its last tomatoes are lined up on my kitchen window sill waiting to see what I may do with them. A tomato sandwich or several of them is always a good thing but it is getting chilly out there, even if the days are warm the evenings are getting cooler as we enter late September. So I am going to make homemade tomato soup with the last of my vegetable brood. It is quite a wonderful thing that the gift of a summer garden can warm up  a fall evening so nicely. What a great bounty!

1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 stalk celery, diced

1 small carrot, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup chicken broth

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup heavy cream, optional

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Strain the chopped canned tomatoes, reserving the juices, and spread onto a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, to taste, drizzle with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and roast until caramelized, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic, cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted chopped canned tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, chicken broth, bay leaf and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add basil and cream, if using. Puree with a hand held immersion blender until smooth.

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