Tomato Leek and Basil Soup

serves 6

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large leeks, rinsed and slice into 1/4-inch half moons

3 medium stalks of celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 cup chicken broth

2-28 ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Crème fraîche (optional)

In a large stock pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  When the foaming subsides, add the leeks and celery and season with a pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring frequently until the vegetables have softened, but not browned,  about 10 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and their juice and stir, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.  Add the basil and chicken broth.  Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the tomatoes have softened, about 25-30 minutes.  Using a hand-held blender, purée the soup until desired consistency is met.  Alternately, you can purée the soup in a food processor or blender in batches.  Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche.  Enjoy!