This soup is so much better than canned soup and it really doesn’t take much more to make! This is inspired by my days at The Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork, Ireland. Such wonderful memories!
This can be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable stock for the chicken stock. Vegan can be accomplished by substituting olive oil for the butter, and you can either delete the cream or substitute with almond milk or coconut milk.
2 tablespoons butter (can substitute olive oil)
1 medium onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
5 cups Homemade Tomato Sauce (See NOTE)
2 to 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock (preferably homemade)
Small handful of fresh basil leaves, skip if you don’t have fresh
1/2 cup cream, optional
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar, if needed
fresh basil leaves for garnish, optional
NOTE: If you don’t have homemade tomato sauce, use five cups of canned tomato puree. You will need to increase the amount of onion to a large onion (1 to 1 1/4 cup diced onion).
- Melt the butter in an enameled Dutch oven (or other non-reactive pan) over medium heat. After the butter is melted add the onions, along with a pinch of salt and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Stir until all the onions are coated in the butter. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Allow the onions to cook over low heat until they are soft but not colored, about 10 minutes.
- Add the tomato purée, 2 cups of chicken stock, and the basil leaves. Season with an additional 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Stir everything together and bring to a simmer. Simmer for five minutes. Add the cream, if using, and simmer for two minutes (be sure not to bring to a full boil).
- You can serve the soup in a rustic style at this point or you can use an immersion blender or upright blender to make it into a smooth, velvety soup; it depends on your taste and mood. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. You may even want to add a bit of sugar if it seems too acidic. Add more chicken stock if it is too thick. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if you like. Serve hot!