Monday, January 10, 2011

Basil Tomato Soup with Battered Okra

This was a truly Southern American meal....

It was SO exciting to finally try this soup! We have a friend staying with us for a couple nights & I finally got a reason to make this recipe I got out of Southern Living months ago. It was a huge hit with the guys & have a feeling this will be a hit with guests and family of all ages if you make it in your home.

I've changed the recipe to make it easier--the original recipe called for whole tomatoes and then using a blender, but why not just use pureed/crushed tomatoes and eliminate that step?? It worked awesome to do less work. And, the half & half really made it.

We had this soup with some sliced honeycrisp apples and clementine tangerines (got to make an effort to counteract the sauteed okra--which by the way, was totally worth it) and pimento cheese toasts (if you can get the Palmetto cheese brand, GET it! It's amazing. Some Costcos sell it. It's not some sweet, fake cheese spread--it's the real thing.). To make pimento cheese toasts, just spread pimiento cheese onto crispy multi-grain European bread and broil until cheese gets hot, melty, and bubbly. It's to die for!

adapted from Southern Living

Makes 15 cups (or about 8 servings)

2 medium onions, chopped
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
3 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes (Italian-style only if you can find it)
1 (14 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 (32 oz.) can (or 4 cups) chicken broth or vegetarian 'chicken' broth like McKay's
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves or 1/3 cup dried basil (+ extra 2 Tbsp basil if you can't find Italian-style tomatoes)
3-4 garlic cloves
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt (or slightly more as the lemon can make it too tart)
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup half and half
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Sauté onions in hot oil in a large Dutch oven (or soup pot) over medium-high heat 9 to 10 minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients (EXCEPT for half & half) and cook 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Mix in the half and half. Turn off heat.

Meanwhile, cook okra according to package directions (I sauteed the okra with Pam-style cooking spray). Serve with soup (on top of). Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (if desired).

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