TOMATO BASIL SOUP
3 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup chopped sweet onions 1/2 cup chopped celery 1/2 cup chopped carrots 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 cup chicken stock 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons house seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic, onion and smoked paprika) 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional) 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
GARNISH House-Seasoned Croutons
Add the oil, onions, celery and carrots to a large saucepan or Dutch oven and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 more seconds, continually stirring. Add chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, basil, oregano, House Seasoning and red pepper flakes. (Add heavy cream now if you are making this a bisque.) Stir together and cook for 18 to 20 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, blend soup together until desired consistency. Simmer on low until ready to serve. (Note: If using a blender, add soup in small batches and blend together. Don’t overfill or soup will spill over the sides.)
Add soup to bowls and garnish with croutons or grilled cheese bites and fresh basil.