This is a very easy recipe and the careful measurement of ingredients is not terribly important. The soup should be made to personal taste. When adding dried herbs, begin with a teaspoon of each and add more if needed. One or two ice cubes of frozen basil should be enough to add enough herbal sweetness to complement the tomatoes.
3 Celery stalks
30 ounces Chicken or Vegetarian broth
8 ounces Tomato puree
16 ounces Tomato juice
Herbs: oregano, tarragon, dill and basil
Tbs. of butter or oil
1.5 Cups Half and Half or Milk depending upon preference (amount can vary)
Salt and Pepper
Sour cream, unsweetened yogurt or quark
Sauté carrots, celery stalks and leeks in a small amount of butter or oil over medium heat. Cook until tender.
Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree with 15 ounces of broth. In a large soup pot combine: tomato puree, tomato juice, and 15 ounces of broth. Stir well over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery and leek mixture and continue to heat through and mix well. Add favorite herbs such as oregano, tarragon, dill and basil. (Hopefully you have some frozen basil left in the freezer from the summer). Keep cooking over medium heat so that the flavors meld. Blend with a hand blender until mostly smooth, but leaving some small bits is fine. Stir in half and half or nonfat milk, depending upon your preference, and heat through. Feel free to add more or less to your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve the soup warm with a dollop of sour cream, unsweetened yogurt or quark on top and sprinkled lightly with herbs.
This recipe is a favorite of the 21 Acres communications team, Brenda Vanderloop and Robin Crowder, who in no way consider themselves experts, but rather adventurers in the kitchen.