We stayed home today thanks to one of the worst ice storms to hit north Texas in many years. Our area is coated in about 1/4 inch of ice and there weatherman says the high will be below freezing for several days. Today is the perfect day to make my favorite cream of tomato soup from America’s Test Kitchen‘s recipe.
Next, I lined a pan with aluminum foil, getting ready to carmelize the tomatoes. I opened each tomato up over the strainer and pushed out the seeds, letting the juices to fall into the bowl, and laid them out on the prepared pan. Next I sprinkled brown sugar (the recipe calls for 1 1/2 tablespoons but I know I used more) all over the tomatoes and put them into the oven for 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid is gone.
Roasting the tomatoes is such a brilliant idea! The brown sugar encourages the caramelization, intensifies the flavor of the tomatoes, and adds just enough sweetness to balance against the acidity of the tomatoes.
While the tomatoes were roasting, I diced up a small onion and sauted it in a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. (This was a substitution for the four large shallots and four tablespoons of butter.) Then, a pinch of allspice – another brilliant idea that adds a lovely complimentary layer of flavor to the soup.
When the onions were clear, I added one tablespoon tomato paste and two tablespoons all-purpose flour, and cooked for about 30 seconds. Stirring constantly, I then added 1 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock and then the reserved tomato juice.
I let the soup simmer for 20 minutes to concentrate all of the flavors together. Next I strained the tomatoes out of the soup and put them in the blender, adding enough liquid to puree the tomatoes and onions to a smooth thickness.
… and a sprinkle of dried basil. Delicious!