Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup with Sunflower Seeds
Unlike most tomato soups that are blended and smooth, this is tomato chunky and fresh basil hearty, with sunflower seeds adding a nutty crunch.
8 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, deseeded and cut into bite size chunks
2 quarts chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
2 cups yellow onions, chopped
1 cup tomato paste
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped, plus a whole leaf for garnishing each bowl
½ cup red palm oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
¼ cup hulled sunflower seeds
Toss together the tomato chunks, red palm oil, and salt, and spread the mixture out on a baking sheet. Roast the pan at 400ºF. (200ºC.) for 30 minutes. To insure that the mixture doesn’t burn, check it frequently and give the pan a shake or scrape with a flat spatula.
In a large saucepan over medium heat melt the butter and sauté the garlic and onions until the onions are translucent. Add the stock and tomato paste. Chicken stock is preferred, but if there are vegetarians present use vegetable stock. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes including the liquid that has collected, the basil, parsley and pepper flakes. Simmer on low for 20 minutes. If the sunflower seeds are raw toast them by placing them in a dry sauté pan on medium heat and shake the pan until they are slightly browned. When ready to serve place a pinch of the seeds on top of each soup bowl with one leaf of fresh basil.
Butter is of water, and the tomatoes and tomato paste are of water of air. Chicken stock is water of earth of air. If vegetable stock is use, it is made up of water and fresh onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf, parsley and pepper. The bay leaf, garlic and pepper are of fire, the carrots, onion and celery are water of fire, and the parsley is of air. The basil, olive oil, and red pepper flakes are also of fire, and the sunflower seeds are earth of fire.