Wednesday, March 28, 2012

creamy tomato soup

i was so happy that it was raining yesterday, so happy that it finally felt like soup weather. seriously, i could eat soup twice a week, but the mister isn't as fond of liquid dinner as i am. i figured that since i hadn't made soup in a while, he would be game for this, plus i had never made tomato soup before so it would be something new. 

new is good.

 i had planned on us having salad and garlic bread for dinner, but the rain, wind and dark clouds made me crave some hot soup. i peeked in the cupboard and fridge to see what i had on hand and was thrilled to discover that i had everything on hand to make this soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dipping.

i have said it here many times already but i will say it (yet) again- america's test kitchen knows what they are doing. i found this recipe on smitten kitchen and we were not disappointed. the recipe starts with roasting the canned whole tomatoes sprinkled with a little brown sugar and i liked that it really brought out their sweetness and balanced out their natural acidity.

let me just state here that the mister does not like tomatoes but he loved this soup. enough said.

after roasting the tomatoes you put them in a pot with some shallots that have been softened in butter (that last word previously said 'butt'. i did not soften my shallots in butt, so i changed it to butter. please don't soften your shallots in butt) with a pinch of allspice and tomato paste, then add the saved tomato juice and some chicken stock. puree and add some half and half or heavy cream and bon appetit!

i made some grilled cheese sandwiches on sourdough from tin roof bakery and cut them up into soldiers for maximum dipping surface area. 

via smitten kitchen

2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice, drained, 3 cups juice reserved
1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Pinch ground allspice
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups chicken stock, homemade or canned low-sodium
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons brandy or dry sherry (optional, i didnt have any)
Salt and cayenne pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450°F. Lined rimmed baking sheet with foil. With fingers, carefully open whole tomatoes over strainer set in bowl and push out seeds, allowing juices to fall through strainer into bowl. Spread seeded tomatoes in single layer on foil. Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar. Bake until all liquid has evaporated and tomatoes begin to color, about 30 minutes. Let tomatoes cool slightly, then peel them off foil; transfer to small bowl and set aside. 

2. Heat butter over medium heat in large 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. Gradually add chicken stock, whisking constantly to combine; stir in reserved tomato juice and roasted tomatoes. Cover, increase heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors, about 10 minutes.

3. Pour mixture through strainer* and into medium bowl; rinse out saucepan. Transfer tomatoes and solids in strainer to blender; add 1 cup strained liquid and puree until smooth. Place pureed mixture and remaining strained liquid in saucepan. Add cream and warm over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in brandy and season with salt and cayenne. Serve immediately. (Soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Warm over low heat until hot; do not boil.)

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