Every Thursday afternoon, I have a date with my dear friend Mo. We go on a long walk with my dog Grace then we have lunch at a local restaurant. We always get the same thing: split a SW Chicken Salad and each gets a cup of their amazing Tomato Orange Soup with Pesto. It’s seriously the BEST soup! I love the zing & sweetness the orange gives to the slow-roasted tomatoes. Topping the soup off with a swirl of pesto and some homemade baked croutons make this soup perfect. My entire family loved this soup. Mo and I devoured the leftovers the next day and we both thought it was delicious.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil then coat it with cooking spray.
Core the tomatoes. Slice the larger tomatoes in half and leave the small ones whole. Place on the baking sheet, cut side up. Slide the slivers of garlic into the tomato halves. Season with black pepper, dried basil, dried oregano, to taste. Drizzle the top of the tomatoes with a bit of olive oil.
Place into the oven and roast for 90 minutes then turn the tray. Return to the oven and continue to roast for 90-120 minutes, or until juicy and roasted. Place on the counter to cool then season with sea salt, to taste. Once they are cool, put the tomatoes and their juices into a storage bowl with a lid and place into the refrigerator until needed.
Coat a small Dutch oven with the olive oil. Add the onions, carrots, and celery then place a lid on it. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender; add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the roasted tomatoes, chicken broth, orange juice, and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for 45-60 minutes. Add chopped basil and stir to combine.
Blend the soup using an immersion blender until creamy and smooth. Taste and re-season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste, if needed.
Side Note: If you are in the mood for a smoother soup, pour it through a fine strainer. If you are in the mood for a thicker and heartier soup, skip this step.
Ladle soup into serving bowls then drizzle the top with pesto. Add a few homemade baked croutons on top. Serve immediately. Enjoy.