Today is a day unprecedented in Jamaica, regarding the weather. We are still experiencing a water shortage but that does not mean that we can’t savor the chilly breeze and cuddly weather currently being experienced. To all the guys & girls, it is the perfect day to surprise your significant other with a warm, tasty soup to tantalize the senses. Ladies, the old adage still speaks true: “A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” and bringing your boyfriend/husband/date something hot to eat or drink for lunch is a sure-fire way to score major sexy points.

Basil Plant in Garden

Crank up your BTUs or plastic today and bring your man/woman a warm lunch or piping hot soup and the heat will surely rise later tonight. I now leave you with a recipe for a delicious and flavorful Roasted Tomato Basil Soup, especially since tomatoes are now in season at the peak of their ripeness. 

Heirloom Tomatoes currently in season

 

 ROASTED TOMATO BASIL SOUP  

   

Ingredients:   

2 stalks Celery, chopped   

4 carrots, peeled and chopped   

1 onion, chopped   

4 cloves garlic, minced   

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil   

1/2 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar   

4 cups Chicken Stock (preferably homemade)   

1/4 cup White Wine/ Chardonnay   

2 teaspoons Kosher salt (1 teaspoon separated)   

1 teaspoon Freshly cracked black pepper   

1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper   

1/8 teaspoon Paprika   

1 tablespoon Tomato paste   

2 Charred Red Bell Peppers, rough chopped* (can substitute for 1 can Fire Roasted Red Bell Peppers)   

8-10 Ripe Tomatoes   

1 cup Fresh Basil leaves, julienned   

1/2 cup Fresh Parmesan cheese, grated   

Method:   

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut each of the tomatoes into half and place on a half-sheet baking pan forming a single layer. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and pour 1 tablespoon olive oil over the tomatoes and using hands, gently mix to coat the tomatoes. Place into oven and bake for 45 mins, turning once. Using the large side of the box grater, grate 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and set aside.  In a medium stockpot on medium heat (Gas 4), pour 1/4 cup olive oil into heated pan. Place onion, carrot and celery and cook until onion are translucent and carrots are carmelized (approximately 10 mins). Place minced garlic  and stir for 1 minute. Add roasted tomatoes, red peppers, basil, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, and tomato paste and stir to combine. Add chicken stock and lower heat to low (Gas 1) and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add white wine and balsamic vinegar to sheet pan to deglaze the pan and pour mixture into the soup and stir. When soup has reduced, turn off and remove from burner. Using a blender or preferably, a food mill**, pour soup in batches and puree until it is of a chunky texture. Reserve 1/4 of the broth in the pot and pour pureed mixture back into the pot and on medium-low heat (Gas 3), stir for 3 minutes. Check for seasonings and ladel soup into a bowl. Top with parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy.   

*You can make fire roasted red bell peppers by placing the peppers directly on the flame and turn each side until the skin is charred black. Peel off skin and chop. It can alternatively be done by placing the peppers in the oven and broil for 6 mins. per side until fully charred. 

**A food mill is a specialied hand-cranked tool for mashing and sieving small food. It can be purchased locally at European specialty store, Ambience, located in the Liguanea Post Office Mall 

– The Jamaican Gourmand

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