Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cream of Tomato Soup

When I lived in DC, I didn't cook much.  One of my frequent dinners was a cream of tomato and parmesan bisque (bought) with some oyster crackers and cheese ... healthy right?  I haven't seen that soup in stores since I moved here, so I'm on the lookout for something I can make that's similar.  This isn't it (even with some cheese added in), but it is delicious.  I skipped on the brandy/sherry as I didn't have any, but I'm leaving it in the recipe below because I assume it would be good.  The original recipe is also more complex, but my simplified version is below.  While straining would result in a better texture, it's very time consuming (and I need a strainer that actually strains!) and I don't know that the difference is worth it ... maybe if you're cooking for company.

 Cream of Tomato Soup (from Smitten Kitchen) (Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook)


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
Salt and cayenne pepper
grated cheese (optional)

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 a bowl and push out seeds, allowing juices to fall 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. Blend together with an immersion blender.  Add cream and warm over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes.  Add grated cheese to taste if desired.  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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