Tomato Basil Soup


  • 2 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1 lg. Spanish onion, chopped
  • 2 leeks, rinsed well and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (recipe below)
  • 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 TBS brandy
  • 4 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped


Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, leeks, celery and sugar and saute for 10 minutes, until carmelized and golden brown. Add the thyme, basil, bay leaves, salt, pepper and cayenne and stir to coat the vegetables. Add the stock and canned tomatoes, bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in heavy cream and brandy and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and puree about half of the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return the puree to the pot and heat through. Remove from the heat and stir in the plum tomatoes and garlic. To serve, ladle the bisque into bowls and top with chopped chives.

Basic Vegetable Stock

  • 1 lg. Spanish onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
  • 2 whole tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1/2 head garlic
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 12 cups mineral or filtered water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. whole peppercorns
  • 1 bouquet garni (3 fresh parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf and 1 fresh thyme sprig tied securely in a piece of cheesecloth)


Combine all the ingredients in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer for one hour. Strain the stock and discard solids.