I know I said I'd post this last weekend, but...well, better late than never.
The following recipe is based on one from The Daily Soup Cookbook. Trish, the excellent galley cook on The Peace, made this for us during our Anacapa dive trip two weeks ago. Her adaptations from the original recipe are italicized.
2 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 Tbsp sugar (omited)
2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tsp large grain, kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
6 c. stock (good chicken stock paste, not "the yellow stuff")
1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes, diced
2 c. heavy cream
1 Tbsp brandy (or sherry, or wine of some sort)
3/4 c. pesto (homemade with basil, jalepeno and cilantro)
4 plum tomatoes, seeded & diced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 c. chives
3/4 c. pine nuts
1. Melt butter in a large soup pot. Add onion, leeks, celery, pine nuts and sugar. Saute 10 min until carmelized and golden brown.
2. Add thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper & cayenne, and stir until the vegetables are fully coated.
3. Add stock and canned tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.
4. Stir in heavy cream and brancy, and simmer for 2 more minutes.
5. Remove bay leaves and puree half the soup. You can either do this in a blender or (much easier) with a hand blender like this one. Return the pureed half to the pot, stir in the pesto, and heat through.
6. Remove from heat and add the plum tomatoes & garlic. Serve topped with chives.