Cream of Tomato Soup

1 pound onions, chopped (4 cups)
2 Tablespoons butter
2 pounds tomatoes, peeled* and quartered (4 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon thyme
1¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ cup whipping cream

Sauté chopped onion and minced garlic in butter in a large Dutch oven until tender, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, covered, over low heat for 1½ hours. Remove and discard bay leaf. Cool mixture slightly. Transfer mixture to container of electric, top with cover and process until smooth. Strain in wire colander to remove seeds. (May be prepared in advance up to this point - refrigerate.)

Stir in whipping cream and heat. Serve with crusty French bread. Yield: 4 servings.

*To easily peel tomatoes, drop in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and cool slightly. The skins of the tomato will now easily peel off.