Roasted Tomato Soup

Roasting the tomatoes for this soup intensifies their sweetness. A splash of fruity balsamic vinegar seals the deal.  Feel free to make this soup with fire-roasted canned tomatoes to cure your mid-winter blues.
Roasted Tomato Soup
[printable recipe]

1 large onion, sliced
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil

3 28oz cans fire-roasted tomatoes (or approximately 2 1/2 pounds of fresh tomatoes, roasted and peeled)
32 oz vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
4 T butter
2-3 T fig balsamic vinegar (or try out your favorite fruity balsamic)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
cream, optional

Preheat oven to 450ºF
Toss onion, garlic and olive oil together. Spread out on a roasting pan and place into your preheated oven. Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until the onions have started to brown and crisp on the edges.

Place tomatoes, roasted onions and garlic into a stock pot. Add vegetable stock, butter, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 40-45 minutes, or until the soup has reduced slightly. Puree soup until smooth with an immersion blender (or in a blender or food processor).  Return soup to pot and add basil and fig balsamic to taste (start with one tablespoon and continue to add vinegar until the flavor meets your approval)  Heat gently until soup is warm and basil is fragrant.  Serve with a whorl of cream (optional).

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