A cold and snowy day screams for a steamy bowl of soup. Put that can opener away! We won’t be needing it.
Notes: We use canned San Marzano tomatoes for this recipe — when available in our area. There really is a difference. San Marzano tomatoes tend to be more fleshy and have fewer seeds than a typical plum variety. They also have a slightly more tomato flavor and are less acidic, requiring much less sugar in the recipe for balance. If you use regular canned whole tomatoes and find the soup a bit acidic, simply add a bit of sugar — about 1 teaspoon — at the end.
Also, the tomatoes are roasted and caramelized to develop additional flavor. Drain as much of the liquid from the tomatoes as possible prior to roasting. Otherwise, the tomatoes steam instead of caramelizing. If this happens, add 10-15 minutes to the roasting time. But watch so that the tomatoes don’t burn.
The tomatoes may stick to the foil after roasting. Don’t worry. These are all going to be pureed. They don’t have to look pretty. Remove as much as you can from the baking sheet. Then add a little of the reserved tomato juice to the pan to sort of “soak” off any of the stuck-on tomato, using a silicone spatula to gently scrape off any bits and pieces.
2 28-ounce cans whole, peeled tomatoes (in juice, not puree)
1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter
4 shallots, minced (or 1 small onion, minced)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 pinch allspice
1 3/4 cup chicken stock (or broth)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons dry sherry (or brandy), optional
Salt, to taste
Cayenne, to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Place tomatoes and juice into medium bowl. Reserving the juice in the bowl, gently seed tomatoes and remove as much of the liquid as possible. Place tomatoes on foil-lined baking sheet. sprinkle tomatoes with brown sugar. Roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Strain the reserved juice, discarding seeds.
- While tomatoes are roasting, melt butter in 12-inch skillet.
- Add shallots (or onion) and cook until soft over medium heat, about 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low. Stir in tomato paste and allspice. Cover and cook for 1 minute.
- Add chicken broth, strained tomato juice, and roasted tomatoes to pan. Cover and cook 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Strain. Puree solids and 1 cup of the liquid until smooth. (An immersion blender works well for this.)
- Add the puree and the liquid into a pot. Add cream and sherry (or brandy) and cook another 10 minutes over low heat.
- Add salt and cayenne to taste. Serve with croutons, sour cream, bacon bits, and/or basil as desired.