Anyone who has been a guest at the Monastery knows that supper always includes soup. It is one of the traditions the Sisters brought with them from Belguim. Around here soups are made from what is on hand. That's how this version of Tomato Vegetable soup came to be.
3 quarts canned tomatoes
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 large onions chopped (not too small)
4 large garlic cloves minced
4 medium potatoes - cubed
5 medium carrots - diced not too finely
5 celery stalks - diced
Start with 1 quart water - you may want to add more
2 Tablespoons salt or to taste
1 Tablespoon dried parsley (If you have fresh - use it instead)
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Adjust last 5 ingredients to taste
2 bay leaves
optional: 1 tablespoon bouillon paste. You can use vegetable or beef if you prefer. (f you add this you may want to reduce salt)
In a large 8 quart soup pot - saute onions and garlic until translucent - about 10 minutes or more. Add other celery and carrots and potatoes. Saute a few minutes longer. Add tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1/2 hour or more. Adjust seasoning to taste. Add more water if necessary. Remove the bay leaves. Grind with a hand held blender.
When I served this soup - I really wanted to add a little cream just stirred once or twice so that there would be a swirl in the soup. Alternatively - you might want to top with a little feta cheese.