Suffice it to say, this is the best soup I have ever made. It took forever to get it smooth, but it was so worth it. Bread is a critical side to this soup, and I would even serve this soup in a bread bowl in the future, if I ever have the gumption to make bread bowls. [Note to self: do this immediately]
Yummy Tomato Soup:
2 28-oz cans whole tomatoes
2 large or 3 medium garlic cloves, sliced
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium fennel bulb, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 large shallot, sliced
1 tomatillo, chopped
1 medium onion or 1/2 large onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. Hungarian sweet paprika
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 cup white wine
1 15-oz. can great northern white beans
4 cups vegetable stock
1 large rosemary sprig, or 1 tsp. dried rosemary
10 small leaves each Italian basil and Thai basil
2-3 tbsp. rice vinegar
Additional salt and pepper, as needed
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Strain the tomatoes over a bowl in order to collect the tomato juice, which will be added back later. In the sink, rinse the tomatoes, and remove their seeds, placing the rinsed tomatoes back in the strainer over the collecting bowl, so they can continue to drain. Prepare an oven-safe baking dish by pouring in 2 tbsp. olive oil and moving the dish around until the bottom is well-covered. Slice the garlic, and chop about and 1/4 cup of the fennel. Place the tomatoes in the dish, tucking the garlic pieces within the tomatoes, and sprinkling overtop with the fennel and a good amount of salt and pepper. Place in the oven, on a middle rack, and cook for 40-45 minutes, finishing with an additional 10 minutes under the broiler. Note that you do not need to move the tomatoes to a higher rack.
While the tomatoes are roasting, prepare the vegetables, taking care to rinse the leek well before chopping. I recommend cutting through the stalk twice, in an X-shape, and then running the leek under water, separating the layer and rinsing well. Make sure to fully remove the husk of the tomatillo.
Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the pot is ready, add in the vegetables, the poultry seasoning, the Hungarian sweet paprika, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on good color. Deglaze the pot with the white wine, and good for an additional 5 minutes on medium heat. Open the great northern beans and rinse under cool water. Add in the beans and the rosemary sprig and cook on low to medium-low until the tomatoes are finished.
Turn off the burner, remove the rosemary sprig, and pour the contents into your food processor or blender, along with the roasted tomatoes and garlic. Blend well, using a spatula to scrape down the sides a few times.
Put the blended mixture in a strainer and use a whisk to push through the liquid. This is the hardest step, and would be easier if I had a blender. Maybe you do, and will have an easier go of it than me. Though I did not initially do this, I would recommend putting the soup through in batches, adding in a bit of the set-aside tomato juice as you go.
Once you have finished straining the soup, return it to your pot, along with the vegetable stock and basil leaves, and cook for about 20 more minutes on medium-low heat. Salt and pepper to taste, and add in the rice vinegar at the very end of cooking.
Remove the basil leaves before serving, and garnish with fresh basil if you wish, though I recommend leaving it out, because the texture of the soup is just so pleasant unadulterated. Do as I say, not as I do on this one. Serve with copious amounts of dipping bread, and enjoy!