Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup:
Poor IZ is sick. He’s still plugging away at work (the joys of working at home) but I’ve been taking up the cooking duties for the past few days. Monday, I did this dish on the side of the couscous box that was a hit. Hardly “cooking” as much as following directions. But I did add my own twist of walnuts and myzithra cheese—hanging out with IZ in the kitchen has clearly rubbed off on me.
But yesterday, he was feeling so poorly, I knew a “Chicken With” meal wasn’t going to cut it. “How about soup?” And with a snuffled nod we were on.
Now, I have a history with soup. I don’t make it. Ever. Â Not after a disastrous encounter with homemade acorn squash soup in 2007. How bad was it? Â Not even IZ could muster a pity bowl and he’s got a cast iron gag reflex. My child was not so diplomatic: “WHAT IS THIS . . . STUFF?! This is horrible. The worst soup ever. What are doing to us, MOM?” Â Or something to that effect because I rememberÂ promptly ordering a pizza and calling it quits. It was that bad. That night we Â all made a silent deal between us: the only soup Wende would be making from here on out was reheating IZ’s leftovers. Done!
That should give you some indication how sick IZ is presently.
I started with this recipe from 365 Days of Slow Cooking but then got serious about the modifications (though, it’s still plenty fattening). I’m sorry, but I blanch at two cups of half and half. SERIOUSLY? Um, no. Â So, I modified and tested Â and modified some more and served. . . and my teenager, who hates all things tomato, ate two servings. “Brilliant and thank you!”
I’m not sure what I’m more excited about. . . that I made soup or that the 15 year old said, “You can make this again.” Â His father seemed equally pleased. He’s still sick, so this soup won’t cure all that ails you. But, it comes pretty darn close.
Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup
You’ll need: Crock Pot, Blender, Sauce Pan, Small Pot, and a bowl for transferring soup.
Step One Ingredients:
1 cup of diced carrots
1 cup of diced onion
1 cup of diced celery
2 14.5 oz cans of canned tomatoes and their juice (crushed or cut will work)
32 oz Â of chicken broth (I use the Organic free range brand from Safeway)
1 ts Oregano
2 Tb Walnut Pesto (If you don’t have pesto on hand, you can sub in fresh [1/4 cup] or dried [1 Tb] basil)
Place these ingredients in a crock pot and set to cook for 5-7 hours. I cooked mine for 5.5 on high. But if you’re going to be gone all day, set it at a lower temperature for a longer time.
Once the vegetables are soft, run them through a blender. Once blended put the soup back into the crock pot.
Step Two Ingredients:
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup of flour
1 cup of milk
1 cup of half and half
1 cup of parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste.
In a sauce pan create a roux by melting the butter on low and then adding in the flour. Whisk for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the milk and half and half and gently warm on the stove or your microwave. Â Mix in a cup of the soup into the saucepan with the roux and mix until blended. It’s going to thicken quickly. Then add another 3 cups of the soup, mix and transfer back into the crock pot with the rest of the soup. Add the parmesan.*Â Mix well and then, blend again in your blender.
Finally transfer the soup back into the crock pot and season to taste. I use a lovely herb salt from Provence. And set your crock pot to cook for another 30 minutes.
Top with a touch of extra Parmesan to serve. Makes 6 very generous servings.
*You can also add the cheese to the soup after the last blend. . . but it will make the soup “cheesy”. So, it depends on how you like the texture.