4 lbs. heirloom tomatoes, sliced seeded and chopped
1 bulb fennel
1 lb carrots
1 lb onions
4 oz extra virgin olive oil
1 qt liquid vegetable stock
bouquet garni (thyme, rosemary, sage, 1 tsp peppercorns, 1 small head of garlic halved)
salt & pepper to taste
2-4oz heavy cream (optional)
sprig of basil for garnish
1. Begin by braising the fennel, carrots, and onion in the extra virgin olive oil - this process can take 15 minutes or 2 hours depending on how much flavor you want to extract from the vegetables.
2. Once you are satisfied with the color, texture and aroma from the vegetables, add the bouquet garni and the tomatoes. Combine well, adjust the consistency of the soup with half of the stock and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Puree the mixture in a blender and pass through a mesh strainer make it smoother, if desired.
4. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If you want a more luxurious soup, add a small amount of heavy cream to the finished soup and a sprig or two of basil.