4Chef’s Note: Blanching involves immersing the tomatoes into boiling water for about 20 seconds, and then dropping them into ice water. In the case of tomatoes, it makes the removal of skins easy peasy.
5Add the olive oil and butter to a large pot over medium heat.
6Chef’s Note: It should be large enough to hold all the ingredients for the soup.
7When the foaming subsides, add the diced onions, carrots, celery, red bell pepper, the garlic, and the dried spices (basil, rosemary, thyme), and stir to combine.
8Add the tomato paste.
9Stir into the veggies.
10Lower the heat to medium low, and allow the veggies to cook until they have softened, and release their moisture, about 12 to 15 minutes.
11Chef’s Tip: Throw in a pinch of salt to get the process started.
12Chef’s Note: Do not let the veggies overly brown.
13Add the tomatoes to the pot, and stir to combine.
14Add the chicken stock, tomato puree, and bay leaves, and then stir to combine.
15Bring the soup up to a boil, and then reduce the heat until the soup is just simmering.
16Allow the soup to simmer, with the lid off, for about 30 minutes.
17Chef’s Note: During this time season the soup with salt and pepper, and maybe a pinch of cayenne.
18Chef’s Tip: Seasoning the soup as you go will give the spices a chance to blend with the other ingredients. It gives all the ingredients a chance to know each other.
19Remove the bay leaves, add the lemon juice, and then use a stick blender, or add the soup, in batches, to a food processor, fitted with an S-blade and blend until smooth.
21Serve in a nice bowl with some Parmesan cheese crisps, crusty bread, or maybe a grilled cheese sandwich. Enjoy.