Chilled Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
This recipe was inspired by a chilled tomato soup I had at a restaurant recently that tasted brighter, sweeter and more intensely of tomatoes than any other tomato soup I’d ever tried. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was in it, so I asked the waiter and he told me the secret ingredient was orange juice. Brilliant! The orange juice highlighted the sweetness of the tomatoes and livened up the taste of the soup without calling any attention to itself. Now that you know, you’ll taste it but ask anyone to guess what’s in it and they’ll have no idea — they’ll just love it.
You could definitely make this soup with fresh tomatoes since they’re in season but I cheat and use Pomi boxed tomatoes. They’re all natural and don’t contain citric acid or any additives like the canned variety; they also don’t need to cook as long since they don’t have that “tinny” taste from the can. You might be able to find them at your regular grocery store — my local Giant carries them right near the canned tomatoes — or you can always find them at Whole Foods. (If you can’t find them, it’s fine to use canned tomatoes; just cook the soup about 10 minutes longer.)
Begin with the garlic. Place each clove underneath the flat side of a chef’s knife and smash it with the palm of your hand — the peel will come right off. You don’t want to chop the garlic because it will burn if the pieces are too small.
Next, roughly chop the onions and carrots.
Cook the onions, garlic and carrots in olive oil until softened and just starting to brown, about 15 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, water, orange juice, sugar and salt.
Toss in some fresh basil leaves.
Then cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.
Purée the soup using a hand-held immersion blender (or in batches in a blender) until completely smooth.
Stir in the cream. Don’t worry — there’s only a third of a cup in the whole pot. A little goes a very long way!
Finally, chill the soup in the refrigerator until very cold. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with fresh chopped basil, or garnish with whole basil leaves if desired. Enjoy!
Chilled Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large yellow onions, roughly chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 2 (26 oz) boxes Pomi chopped tomatoes or 2 (28 oz) cans crushed or diced tomatoes
- 4 cups water
- 1-1/2 cups orange juice, preferably not from concentrate
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 10 leaves fresh basil, plus more for garnishing soup
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, water, orange juice, sugar, salt and basil and bring the soup to a boil. Turn heat down to low, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.
- Purée the soup with a hand-held immersion blender until completely smooth. (Alternatively, use a standard blender to purée soup in batches. Always be careful not to fill the jar more than halfway, and leave the hole in the lid open and loosely cover with a dish towel to allow the heat to escape.) Stir in the heavy cream. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and/or sugar if necessary.
- Transfer the soup to a container (or leave in the pot if you wish) and refrigerate until very cold.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and top with fresh chopped basil. Garnish with whole basil leaves if desired.