This is, hands down, our favorite soup in this house. 

I have made it many, many times over the years for my family, and it’s even become a traditional part of Christmas Eve dinner each year with my husband’s side of the fam. 
It is absolutely delicious, and so easy to make, yet for some reason, when you serve it up, people totally think it is decadent and gourmet.

And since soup does not photograph well, you’ll just have to trust me: this one is a major crowd pleaser, every time.

Oh, one more bonus if you happen to have any picky eaters..since the finished soup is pureed, the veggies are therefore “invisible” and kids slurp it up without hesitation–especially if they have some good bread for dipping!

My recipe is really an adaptation from a food network recipe I found a few years back (by Giada de Laurentis), which I can no longer find on the site.  One of the main differences is that she renders bacon for some of the fat at the beginning.  I prefer to make it sans bacon grease, and so we substitute it for olive oil.

Ingredients:
4 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp olive or canola oil
1 carrots, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
5 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable or low sodium chicken broth
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
2-3 sprigs fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp or better Salt and Pepper

Directions:

In large pot or dutch oven, melt the butter with the oil, and add chopped vegetables and garlic.  Cook on medium heat about 8 minutes, until the onions are translucent.



Add the 5 Tbsp of flour, 1 tsp or better salt, and pepper, and mix in to coat the vegetables, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes (scraping the bottom of the pot).  Allow it to cook until it is a blonde-brown color.



Add tomatoes (UNdrained), followed by broth.

Add fresh herbs (rough chopped) and the bay leaves.

Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat, and remove bay leaves.

Once somewhat cooled, blend the soup.  An immersion blender would work great hear, but if you don’t have one, just pour soup into a regular blender in two batches and puree until smooth.  


Once pureed, you can FREEZE it if so desired, (heavy cream will be added later)



OR return to pot and bring up the heat again before adding the 1 cup heavy cream.

Yes, I’ve made this with half and half, and with milk…and honestly, it doesn’t even come close to the richness the heavy cream brings.  But if you don’t want to ruin your diet, rest assured that it’ll still be pretty darn good, even if you HAVE to substitute (my husband notices every time).

Serve this soup up with any type of fresh or toasted cheesy bread, OR with homemade croutons.


I did up some cheesy parmesan-mozzarella toast for mine today.

 

Here’s how I do my Homemade croutons:

Slice your favorite sourdough or Italian bread into large chunks.  Toss them onto a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, crushed garlic, parmesan cheese, or whatever herbs you want (thyme would be good!) then toast in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, turning once.Serve soup with 3 or 4 croutons per bowl.  YUM.


Take it up another level (and make into a full meal) by serving up this soup with special grilled cheese sammys!

Our favorite: Grilled Jarlsberg Swiss and fresh tomato on Rye!


FOR THE PRINTABLE RECIPE, CLICK HERE.

ENJOY.