It’s been some time since I made this wonderful soup. I thought that it would be a perfect pairing with the cold weather outside, and it was! One of the keys to this soup is the roasting of the canned tomatoes. This concentrates the flavors.
Another key is processing the soup in a blender to ensure that it’s perfectly smooth and creamy.
The ingredients include canned whole tomatoes, brown sugar, onions, celery, garlic, flour, chicken broth, chicken base, tomato paste, dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, medium dry sherry, whipping cream, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
The most time consuming part of making this soup is getting the tomatoes ready for roasting. This entails draining the tomatoes but reserving the juices, removing the seeds and any extraneous skin, cutting away the stem end, and removing as much liquid as possible from what remains. The easiest way that I know to remove the seeds is break open the tomatoes and rinse them under running water. To remove excess liquid, I place the rinsed tomatoes on paper towels, and pat dry with additional paper towels. The reason for doing this is that the roasting does not begin until the liquid has been evaporated, so the more liquid that is removed before roasting, the quicker the process. After spreading the tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with non-stick aluminum foil, I sprinkled them with some brown sugar to enhance the roasting. Into a 450° F oven the tomatoes went for about 30 minutes until the liquid had evaporated and they began to color.While the tomatoes were roasting, I cooked the onion and celery in a Dutch oven for about 10 minutes. Then, I added the minced garlic and cooked the vegetables for about 30 seconds more. To aid in thickening the soup, I added some flour to the vegetables, stirred to combine, and cooked the mixture for another minute or so.Next came the addition of the chicken broth, reserved juices from the tomatoes, chicken base and tomato paste. After everything was well combined, I added the basil, oregano and thyme, brought the mixture to a boil, reduced the heat to low and cooked the soup covered for about 30 minutes.At this point, I had removed the tomatoes from the oven and let them cool a bit. Then, I added them to the soup, covered the pan, and let the mixture cook for another 30 minutes.After letting the mixture cool slightly, I strained it into a medium bowl. I transferred the tomatoes and vegetables to a blender with enough of the strained liquid to puree until it was smooth. I returned the strained liquid and pureed mixture to the Dutch oven, and added the sherry and whipping cream. After giving the soup a good stir to ensure that everything was well combined, I tasted it to see whether I needed to add any salt or pepper. I thought that it was perfectly seasoned, so time for dinner! I served the soup with Mardi Gras Salad, and a freshly baked baguette. Yum!
2 (28 ounce) cans whole tomatoes, packed in juice
1½ Tablespoons brown sugar
1 medium onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1¾ cups chicken broth
1 Tablespoons chicken base
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 Tablespoons medium dry sherry
¾ cup whipping cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil. Drain tomatoes, reserving the juice. Seed tomatoes, pat dry with paper towels and spread in a single layer on the foil. Sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar. Bake until all liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes begin to color, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven; let the tomatoes cool slightly.
Cook chopped onion, chopped celery, and minced garlic in a large Dutch oven until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly until thoroughly combined. Gradually add the chicken broth, reserved tomato juice, chicken base and tomato paste. Whisk to combine. Add basil, oregano and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, and cook covered for 30 minutes (Note: This can be done while the tomatoes are cooking in the oven.)
Add tomatoes; cook covered for 30 additional minutes. Cool mixture slightly. Strain the mixture into a medium bowl; rinse out the Dutch oven. Transfer the tomatoes and solids in the strainer to a blender; add just enough of the strained liquid to puree until smooth. Combine the pureed mixture and remaining strained liquid in the Dutch oven; mix well. Add the sherry and whipping cream, stirring to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Yield: 6 servings.