This is a great soup recipe when you need to clean out your veggie drawer of old celery and carrots and a half-used container of half-and-half.
(^ the amount of these veggies is however much you have. I had half a *checks notes* bunch of celery, five carrots, and the last sad onion.)
Chop and saute in oil in a pot with salt and pepper, celery seed, and fennel seed.
Celery seed and fennel seed are the weird culprits behind delicious flavors in soups. I say yes to them! Yes I say!
When you like how your veggies look and smell, add 6 to 8 cloves of chopped garlic for about one minute. At this juncture, this mix smells good enough to eat as the meal.
Deglaze your pot with maybe 2 to 3 cups of chicken or veggie stock or, if you are feeling saucy, a cup of red wine then add the stock. Scrape any brown bits off the bottom. Those are literally the reason you sautéed the veggies.
Add two 28-oz. cans of whatever tomato products you have: whole, chopped, crushed, sauce, a mix of these.
Yes, I realize that this would be delicious with fresh garden tomatoes. But I honestly cannot imagine a world in which I flash boil 15 tomatoes and peel them. I am unable to envision this step as a part of my journey.
Add salt and pepper and either honey or sugar (just some) to balance out all this acid. Don’t taste it yet. It isn’t right.
Bring to a boil, lower your heat and cover. I like this to simmer away for at least 30 minutes. It needs the time. Just let it live in its time out corner until it is ready to come correct. Then taste it and just see. Add whatever you think it needs. I usually add salt or sugar or both.
Pull it off the heat and use your immersion blender to smooth that baby out (this is one of my favorite kitchen tools and soups are bereft and forlorn without it).
Pour in your half-and-half or… for the very serious among us… heavy whipping cream. This is where the shiz gets real.
If someone put a huge bag of fresh basil from her garden in your fridge, chop a huge handful of it, and toss it in.
I actually like to let this sit for about 5 to 10 minutes in the pot before serving. It is boiling hot, and as it cools just barely, the flavor becomes perfect. I add a tiny drizzle of olive oil on top like Ina Garten INSISTS WE DO. I don’t disobey the queen.
Obviously, serve it with buttered hot dog buns with garlic salt and Italian seasoning on top and maybe the last dregs of some cheese because you are getting rid of stuff that needs to be eaten. I thought I made that clear.
If you’ve never made “garlic bread” on hot dog buns, are you really a parent?
Speaking of food, you can find more recipe goodness in my debut cookbook, Feed These People.