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964559 -- GARDEN-FRESH TOMATO SOUP

1/2 c. butter or margarine
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lg. onion, sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp.
dried thyme
4 fresh basil leaves or 1/2 tsp.
dried basil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 lbs. diced fresh ripe tomatoes
or 2 cans (16 oz. each)
Italian-style tomatoes with juice
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3 3/4 c. chicken broth, divided
1 tsp. sugar
1 c. heavy cream
--CROUTONS:--
8 slices day-old French or Italian
bread
1 lg. garlic clove, sliced lengthwise
2 tbsp. olive oil
In a large kettle, heat butter and olive oil over medium-high. Add onions and
seasonings. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft. Add the
tomatoes and paste. Stir to blend. Simmer 10 minutes. Place the flour in a
small mixing bowl and stir in 1/4 cup chicken broth. Stir into the tomato
mixture. Add the remaining broth. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
Allow mixture to cool and run through sieve, food mill or food processor.
Return the pureed mixture to the kettle. Add the sugar and cream. Heat
through, stirring occasionally. To prepare the croutons, rub the garlic over
both sides of the bread. Brush with olive oil and place on a baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until toasted. Turn and toast other
side 2-3 minutes. Just before serving, top each bowl with one or two croutons.
Yield: 8 servings.
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