Roasted Tomato Soup
Credit where credit is due--this was largely inspired by America's Test Kitchen, with variations perfected by various members of my family. This is a great way to get a tomato soup full of strong tomato flavor when tomatoes aren't necessarily in season; roasting them brings out all that wonderful tomato essence that goes so well with the garlic and basil. This freezes well--just remember not to add the cream until you are ready to serve. Special equipment: blender.
- 2 cans (28 ounces each) whole tomatoes (not packed in puree), drained, 3 cups juice reserved, seeded
- 6 large cloves of garlic, peeled (left whole)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 large shallots, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 pinch ground allspice
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cups chicken stock
- 1 cup basil leaves, lightly packed
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons brandy or dry sherry
- Salt and cayenne pepper
- 1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees; line jelly-roll pan or rimmed cookie sheet with foil. Spread tomatoes in single layer on foil, and sprinkle evenly with brown sugar. Combine garlic with a little olive oil in a foil packet. Bake tomatoes and garlic until all liquid has evaporated from the tomatoes and they begin to color, about 30 minutes. Let tomatoes cool slightly, then peel them off foil; transfer tomatoes and garlic to small bowl and set aside.
- 2. Heat butter over medium heat in medium nonreactive saucepan until foaming; add shallots, tomato paste, and allspice. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds (now is the time to use a flat-bottomed whisk, if you have one). Whisking constantly, gradually add chicken stock; stir in reserved tomato juice and roasted tomatoes and garlic. Cover, increase heat to medium, and bring to boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors, about 10 minutes.
- 3. Strain mixture into medium bowl; rinse out saucepan. Transfer tomatoes and solids in strainer to blender; add 1 cup strained liquid and basil and puree until smooth. (It may be necessary to complete this in batches. Remember, always let liquid in a blender cool slightly, make sure the top is on firmly, and protect your hand with a thick towel while you hold it down. Pulse slowly before holding down the blender, or it may have a geyser effect.) Place pureed mixture and remaining strained liquid in saucepan, add cream, and heat over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in brandy or sherry; season to taste with salt and cayenne, and serve immediately.
- Note: If making ahead of time, do not add cream until serving.
- Yield: about 5 Â½ cups of soup, serving 4 as a main course
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