Hickory Smoked Tomato Soup with Sour Cream & Basil

Once you’ve tasted smoked tomato soup, you will never want to eat plain tomato soup again.  The blending of smoke, tomatoes, basil and sour cream is a culinary delight you won’t soon forget.  This is the ultimate gourmet tomato soup, and it’s so easy to prepare.  Serve as a first course before the smoked tenderloin or smoked rack of lamb.

Ingredients:

3 hickory wood chunks
4 cups water for water pan
8 medium ripe tomatoes, halved
3 medium carrots, peeled
1 red bell pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade (if using canned broth, use only No MSG type)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 cups half and half
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt to taste
Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Place wood chunks on charcoal or lava rocks, and pour water into water pan. Place tomato halves (cut side up), whole carrots and whole red bell peppers in smoker basket and set on lower level grill. Smoke for approximately 30 minutes (electric/gas smoker) or 40 minutes (charcoal smoker) until skins of tomatoes and pepper begin to blister and peel.

Remove vegetables from smoker. Remove stems, skin and seeds from tomatoes and pepper. Puree the smoked vegetables in a blender or food processor. In a sauce pan, heat chicken stock over medium heat and add smoked vegetable puree and basil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add half and half and sour cream and stir vigorously until smooth. Cook uncovered on low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes until thickened. You will need to add enough salt to bring flavor into balance.

Serve piping hot in soup bowls and garnish with small basil leaves. Good with French bread.

Serve 6