There are people who take the whole “back to school” craze rather seriously. I know a family that makes 60-70 frozen meals before each year starts. All ladies from their clan gather to spend a day or two chopping, cooking, packaging, and labeling… Pretty impressive, hah!? I tried to accomplish something like that before our second child arrived, though baby Pea ended up being an angel (who said women are high-maintenance?) and unlike her brother devoted her infant days to snoozing. So, my extreme food storage proved to be unnecessary.
However, with time I did appreciate all the stuff in the freezer. So, a new tradition was started. Now we make extra and stow our favorites for the days, when there is no time to make a fresh dinner.
Here is one of those recipes. All you need on the serving day is some bread or croutons!
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 8 cups chopped leaks, white and pale green parts only (about 3-4 leaks)
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 30 oz whole peeled tomatoes
- 14.5 oz vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tbs chopped fresh basil leaves or 2 t dried basil leaves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- 3/4 cup whipping cream (or half-and-half, or milk)
Yields about 9 cups of soup
Prepare the soup. In heavy pan, heat oil, leeks, celery, and garlic over medium-high heat; cook 8-10 min or until leaks are soft. Add tomatoes, broth, wine, and lemon juice. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover; and simmer for 30 min. Remove from heat; add basil, salt, and pepper. Puree soup mixture in food processor or blender until smooth.
Make ahead. Freeze in gallon or quart zip lock bags, pressing out the air and laying flat.
Serve: if frozen, thaw; heat through over low heat, stirring occasionally; add cream and simmer about 10 min or until thickened. Do not boil. Garnish with basil. Serve warm.