Perfect Homemade Tomato Soup

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We call this Perfect Homemade Tomato Soup because it is the Perfect Homemade Tomato Soup! And it couldn't be any easier to make. So grab all those tomatoes from the garden (or market) and get ready to taste the most delicious soup ever!

10 to 12 medium plump, ripe, garden tomatoes
4 tablespoons vegan butter, divided
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon uncooked rice
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups water
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and remove from the heat. Score the tomatoes with an X on the bottoms of each one and drop them into the hot water. Let sit for about 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and let them cool down a bit. Peel off the skin and discard. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and set them aside.

Empty the water from the pot, then melt two tablespoons of the butter over medium heat and add the onions. Cook, occasionally stirring until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Next, stir in the tomatoes, rice, basil, thyme, bay leaf, and cayenne. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the water, two more tablespoons of butter, and a generous pinch of salt; about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons, more or less to taste, and a pinch of pepper. Bring the mixture back up to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

Remove the soup from the heat. Then, with an Immersion Hand Blender blend the soup until smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, carefully (the soup is hot), pour the contents into a regular blender, and mix until smooth.

Pour soup into soup bowls, garnish with fresh basil if desired, and enjoy!