It was just before Thanksgiving…and I could hardly believe that beautiful red Lancaster tomatoes were still for sale at some of the farm stands. They called to me each time I drove by. I had already made my sauce (or gravy as they would say in Jersey), and bags of it were waiting in my freezer for winter meals.
I really had no plans to stop – no reason to stop. But how many November days will ever come again when I could still buy farm fresh tomatoes?  Tomatoes so red that you know the sun personally kissed each one of them.
And so I loaded the box into the back of the car.

I had planned to write this blog then, but the hustle and bustle of the holidays came…
So I’ll post it now, and as I look out my window at the fresh fallen snow, I’m so glad that I took the extra time to pick up those tomatoes. I made a lot of sauce and some soup – and froze what we couldn’t eat for cold winter days.

One of my favorite ways to make soups, vegetables and appetizers is to roast them. It fills the inn with wonderful aromas, warms up the kitchen and brings out the best in flavor.

This recipe is so solid that you can even use winter tomatoes – distant cousins of those summer beauties.

So, from one kitchen to another, I hope you enjoy this simple recipe. Add some crusty warm bread, a hearty red wine, a good cheese…ah, sounds like dinner to me!

Roasted Tomato Soup

3 lbs. of your favorite kinds of tomatoes (I have used all kinds)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1 large sweet onion (Vidalia or Walla Walla), cut in chunks
1/4 cup olive oil – maybe a little more
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 quart chicken stock (I like to use the low-sodium powdered mix that you can buy in bulk in most smaller grocery stores and Amish bulk stores in Lancaster County)
2 bay leaves (if you’ve never tried bay leaf powder this is great because you don’t have to remember to take the leaves out – just use ¼ teaspoon
4 tablespooon butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450.

Wash, cut and get rid of as many seeds from the tomatoes as you can.
Place tomatoes, garlic and onion in ceramic roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour olive oil back and forth over entire pan (I’m guessing about ¼ of a cup).
Roast for about 40 minutes, until onions are browned and tips are starting to blacken a little.
Remove pan from oven. In a large stock pot, boil chicken stock and bay leaves. Add butter and tomato mixture. Turn down the heat to a simmer for about 30 minutes, or until liquid is reduced by a third.
Add basil and puree the soup with an immersion blender. Add cream, adjust salt and pepper and serve.
Serves 7.
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