This is a must-try recipe. Even if you don't cook, you must try this recipe - it's too easy not to. Even if you don't like tomatos (like me), you must try this recipe - it'll change your mind. Even if you don't have a craving for soup, you must try this recipe - you'll want it every day for a month. It's that good. Greg and I spent the evening comparing its soothing, rich flavors to something dangerously addictive. There's crack in there somewhere, we concluded - the oven heat must magically turn canned tomatos into cocaine, or whatever else the tomatoey-goodness tang must be.
It's good. Really good.
And I can't take any credit for it. Thanks to Deb at http://www.smittenkitchen.com/, one of my favorite food bloggers, who recently tried this America's Test Kitchen Recipe. Here's how my version went.
Cream of Tomato Soup
Slightly modified from The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook
2 (35-ounce) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice, drained, 3 cups juice reserved
1½ tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small sweet onion, minced (about ½ cup)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced.
1.5 tablespoon tomato paste
Dash of nutmeg
Pinch of poultry seasoning
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups low sodium vegetable stock
½ cup light cream
Salt and Pepper
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drain both cans and reserve juice. Split tomatoes and carefully de-seed over a strainer.
2. Lay out seeded tomato pieces on a single layer on two baking sheets and sprinkle with 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar. Roast tomatoes for approximately 30 minutes, or until they start to color. Let cool.
(I use sil-pat, a non-stick silicone liner, with most things that I bake. It makes cleanup a breeze. If you don't have a silicone liner, use silver foil.)
3. Meanwhile, finely mince a small onion and clove of garlic. Heat butter in a saucepan until melted, add onion, garlic, 2tbsp of tomato paste, nutmeg and poultry seasoning. Cook over low until the onion is done - about 5-10 minutes.
4. Add 2tbsp flour and whisk well. Cook for an additional minute.
5. Add in the liquids slowly while whisking to ensure a smooth sauce: 3 cups reserved juice and 1 3/4 cup low sodium vegetable stock. Add roasted tomatoes and allow to simmer well for 10 minutes (to mellow the flavors). Strain the soup over a bowl and add solids to a blender. Blend to desired consistency and return to fluids. Mix well.
6. Add 1/2 cup light cream, salt and pepper to taste. Dish up.
I spent the next 45 minutes trying my creative juices with Greg - what could I add to this? What other special flavor would make this even better? Grated cheese? More garlic? Roasted yellow pepper or herbed croutons? Next to pilaf, rice, bulgar wheat, over a potatoe or with roasted asparagus couscous? He made me promise to not to change the recipe at all, but to make this soup again and again exactly as this recipe described.
Why, might you ask, has Rachael been posting about recipes instead of chatting about the wedding? Well, there's not much for planning of the wedding, since it is in Italy so as to avoid the planning. And I've been trying to force myself to take more down-time. Cooking, taking photos, and then talking about them online qualifies as fantastic down-time that keeps me from working on work. I.e., this is for my own good rather than your's - unless you try making this tomato soup, in which case, everybody wins.