Ultimate Cream of Tomato Soup
SERVES 3 TO 4 (MAKES ABOUT 5 1/2 CUPS)
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: When developing our cream of tomato soup recipe, we found that good-quality, straight-from-the-can diced tomatoes were good, but not quite good enough. We got a more robust tomato flavor for our tomato soup recipe by using a technique known for intensifying flavor: caramelization. We roasted whole canned tomatoes, first sprinkling them with brown sugar to induce caramelization. The ultimate difference in flavor was extraordinary, and because the rest of the soup could be prepared while the tomatoes roasted, we were able to keep stovetop time down to 20 minutes.
2 (28 ounce) cans whole tomatoes (not packed in puree), drained, 3 cups juice reserved, tomatoes seeded
1½ tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large shallots, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste Pinch ground allspice
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1¾ cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons brandy or dry sherry cayenne pepper
- 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. 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.
- 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. Whisking constantly, gradually add chicken stock; stir in reserved tomato juice and roasted tomatoes. Cover, increase heat to medium, and bring to boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors, about 10 minutes.
- Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Process solids from strainer and 1 cup strained liquid in blender until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Return pureed mixture and remaining strained liquid to clean saucepan. Stir in cream and heat over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in brandy. Season with salt and cayenne to taste, and serve.
- To Make AheadThis soup can be prepared through step 3, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Reheat over low heat before proceeding with step 4.
Photo Credit: Steve Klise