Sunday, January 6, 2013

slow cooker tomato basil parmesan soup {winner!}

Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup from Tamara:

2 (14 oz) cans S & W Italian Recipe diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano
1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 bay leaf
1/2 cup flour
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (make sure to use freshly grated, not powdered)
garnish (optional)
1/2 cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed (substitute milk for less calories)
Kosher salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.  **If putting in crock pot less than 7-8 hours, sauté celery, carrots and onions until slightly soft before putting in the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on LOW 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft. At this point I used a hand immersion blender to blend vegetables to a smooth texture. (You can also transfer to a blender in batches) If you prefer a chunkier texture you can leave it as is or even blend just some of it. Return to blended vegetables back to the slow cooker.

About 40 minutes before serving prepare the roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add the flour. Stir roux constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly whisk in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper.

Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.

Serve with additional grated Parmesan, if desired.

**If you blend soup smooth with blender, you can make a healthier version by cutting roux in half as the blended vegetables help create a thicker texture.

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