Smitten Kitchen’s Tasty Tomato Soup

My #1 food obsession is tomatoes.  I will eat them roasted, raw, in sauce, or, my winter favourite, in soup.  I’ve been searching high and low for the perfect tomato soup recipe and I think I’ve finally found it.  One of my favourite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen, adapted a scrumptious recipe from the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook.

* warning: this recipe has a ridiculous amount of steps for something so very simple.  Rest assured, it’s worth it!  I’ve changed up the last step to be a bit simpler (my edits are in italics)- I did it this way and it worked just fine!

Smitten Kitchen’s Cream of Tomato Soup
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 (I didn’t use any and it still tasted amazing!)
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 flavours, about 10 minutes.

3. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot until you reach the desired texture (mine was still a little chunky). 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.)

I served this for my boyfriend on Friday night to much appreciation.  It was just as good on Sunday afternoon – I had about 3 leftover servings.  We had ours with an upgraded grilled cheese – aged cheddar slices between fresh challah bread in the panini press – amazing!

Next time, I’d like to find a way to use less cream.  Great for taste, not so great for the waistline!

What is your favourite tomato soup recipe?