Yield: 6 servings
|3 tablespoons||Unsalted butter|
|1 \N||Onion, sliced or chopped|
|1 medium||Leek, cleaned and finely chopped|
|1 medium||Carrot, finely chopped|
|1 medium||Stalk celery, finely chopped|
|\N \N||Bouquet garni (see note)|
|2 tablespoons||Chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried leaf|
|4 \N||Ripe medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped|
|3 tablespoons||Tomato paste|
|2 tablespoons||All-purpose flour|
|2½ cup||Chicken stock|
|½ cup||Half and half or heavy cream|
|\N \N||Salt and finely ground pepper to taste|
Directions: 1. Heat butter and oil in a 2-quart saucepan. Add onion, leek, carrot, celery, bouquet garni, and basil and saute 5 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. 2. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and cook about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and mix well. Add chicken stock, cover, and simmer about 20 minutes. Remove bouquet garni. 3. Pour into food processor fitted with steel blade or into blender and puree. Pass through a fine strainer (use a rubber spatula to help force liquid through). 4. Return to saucepan and add half and half or cream. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 2 to 3 minutes.
Taste for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve hot with fresh basil leaves or chopped parsley for garnish. Variation: Omit basil and add ¼ to ½ tsp. curry powder for a completely different taste. May be refrigerated for up to 1 day and served chilled. Advance Preparation: May be prepared up to 2 days ahead through step 3 and kept in refrigerator. Note: To make a bouquet garni, wrap a parsley stem, bay leaf, and a sprig of fresh thyme in cheesecloth and tie with string.