A Fallish Cream of Tomato Soup with the Last of Summer’s Tomatoes

Gazpacho = Summer. But it didn’t feel right making gazpacho this late in September since we are days away from Fall. However, our garden doesn’t know that, and we’re still getting great heirloom tomatoes. Lots of them, basil too. I love cream of tomato soup. It’s classic comfort food and reminds me of kindergarten lunches. Campbell’s Soup was fine back then, but being a grown-up food snob, no thank you to all those preservatives, sodium, and – ick – the taste.

We’ve made this revamped Cooking Light recipe for years. Its ease of preparation is a plus and tastes so rich despite no cream. Boursin cheese adds another layer of light herb flavor, but low fat cream cheese works too.

Cream of Tomato and Basil Soup
8 one-cup servings

2 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
Olive oil
4 cups chopped tomatoes (about 4 large)
4 cups low-sodium tomato juice – I use low sodium V8 juice
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup 2% milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
4 ounces herb and garlic Boursin cheese or 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened and cubed
Basil leaves, thinly sliced

Sauté the garlic in olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until golden but not browned. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes.

Add the basil to the pan and process with an immersion blender until smooth, taking care since the soup is quite hot. It may also be processed in a blender or food processor and return it to the pan.

Season with salt and lots of freshly ground balck pepper and stir in the milk. Add the cheese, stirring well with a whisk, and cook over medium heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Ladle soup into individual bowls; garnish with sliced basil.

This keeps well refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week or can be frozen for "fresh" tomato soup in the middle of winter.

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