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~ Smokey 'n Sweet Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup~

IMG_4409April showers bring May flowers.  That is the good news.  April showers also bring a lot of chilly, damp days here to Happy Valley.  On a day such as this one today, I want to relax and take the day off, and, I want soup.  I don't want a thick, chunky stew-like concoction either.  Save that type of soup for the Fall.  I want something smooth, creamy and fresh tasting.  For me, there is only one soup that fits that bill:  cream of tomato soup.  I want to ladle it into a mug, sit on the sofa in front of my fireplace with my three puppies, watch a movie, and, sip, savor and slurp!

ImagesOne thing I will never walk away from is tomato soup.  I love it, love it, love it.  I grew up loving the rainy days when my mom or dad would make us a can of Campbell's for lunch and serve it to my brother and I with a few Nabisco saltines crushed over the top, or, a grilled cheese sandwich to the side.  When my boys were growing up, they liked it with Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers swimming on top!  

Nowadays, if I'm out for lunch and a chef has an interesting version of this classic soup on his or her menu, it is the first thing I will order!

Tomato soup deserves its own identity!

From a personal standpoint, many homemade tomato soup recipes taste too much like pasta sauce, meaning:  they are often flavored with basil or oregano.  That's not for me.  Two years ago, I was asked to develop a roasted tomato soup recipe for a local restaurant, and, I was bound and determined to not let that happen.  If I do say so myself, my use of thyme as the herb and brown sugar for a bit of caramelized sweetness brought the recipe up to a level of simple, elegant, French-style decadence.  Even though that restaurant was short-lived and is no longer in business (not everyone knows how to run a restaurant, they just think they do), my soup was a great success.  I have since taken my original recipe and rewritten it to suit me.  It's now a cream of roasted tomato soup, and:  a Spring soup never tasted so good!

6a0120a8551282970b0162fc35965e970d-500wi12, medium-sized, vine-ripened tomatoes, about 4 pounds, top core removed, tomatoes sliced in half pole-to-pole

2  very large yellow or sweet onions, about 1 1/2 pounds, peeled and coarsely chopped

2  heads garlic, peeled, about 2 ounces peeled garlic cloves

8-10 sprigs fresh thyme

8  tablespoons olive oil (1/2 cup), total throughout recipe

4  tablespoons dark brown sugar

freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend

1  teaspoon smoked paprika

2  cups heavy or whipping cream

1  cup vegetable stock, preferably homemade (Note:  You can find my recipe for vegetable stock in Categories 15 or 22.)

additional sea salt and peppercorn blend, for adjusting seasoning

6a0120a8551282970b0162fc359d33970d-320wi~ Step 1.  Cover a baking pan with aluminum foil and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.

~ Step 2.  Add the onions and garlic to pan.  Drizzle with 4 tablespoons of olive oil.  Using your hands, toss to coat.  Place the thyme sprigs on the top, followed by a light grinding of sea salt and peppercorn blend.

6a0120a8551282970b015392e05abd970b-320wi~ Step 3.  Spread the onion mixture evenly over the bottom of pan. Arrange tomatos over the the onion mixture, spacing them slightly apart. Drizzle tomatoes with the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil.  Sprinkle the tops of the tomatoes with brown sugar, followed by a light grinding of sea salt and peppercorn blend.

6a0120a8551282970b015436b3c419970c-320wi~ Step 4.  Roast on center rack of preheated 375 degree oven, about 1 1/2 hours, or until onions are caramelized and tomatoes have a bit of a char to their tops.

Note:  Timing can and will vary depending upon the consistency and ripeness of the tomatoes, 1-2 hours.  What the finished mixture looks like is more important than the time it actually takes.

6a0120a8551282970b0162fc35b758970d-320wi~ Step 5.  Discard thyme sprigs. Transfer mixture to the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  If you do not have a large processor, do this in 2-3 batches.

6a0120a8551282970b0162fc35bc06970d-120wi~ Step 6. Using a series of about 30 rapid on-off pulses, process until a "semi-chunky" puree is formed or a puree to  your liking.

IMG_4386~ Step 7.  Transfer to a 3 1/2-4 quart chef's pan or stockpot.  Add the smoked paprika, cream and vegetable stock.  Over moderate heat, bring to a gentle simmer. Taste.  Adjust seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper, if necessary.  Simmer gently for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover pan/pot and set aside, to steep for about 15 minutes, to allow the flavors to marry.

IMG_4431Smokey 'n Sweet Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup:  Recipe yields 2 quarts of soup/6 servings.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan; aluminum foil; parchment paper; food processor; 3 1/2- 4-quart chef's pan or stockpot w/lid

6a0120a8551282970b015392a00535970b-800wiCook's Note:  For my other "take" on this beloved classic soup, you can find my recipe for ~ Bacon, Onion & Rosemary-Tomato-Cream Soup ~ in Categories 2, 9, 18, 19, 20 or 22!

This version is made using crushed tomatoes as an ingredient. Because Joe and I crush and freeze our own garden tomatoes each year, I can make fantastic tomato soup any time of the year!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013)


That's a great idea to freeze it. I will put some in small jars for a quick thaw. I made the vegetable stock too and will freeze some of that as well! Thanks for the great ideas!

Teresa! I am gleeful. Sometimes I freeze it too: I make a double or triple batch, and, DON'T add the cream. I portion it into 2-quart size containers, then, add the cream on the reheat! ~ Mel.

Wow Melanie! This is the BEST tomato soup ever in the whole wide world! :) The flavor from the roasting is exceptional, and I love the texture with the chunky bits. My husband, who has refused to eat tomato soup throughout his life, ate this and: "He likes it! Hey, Mikey!" ;)

This sounds so warming and comforting. I love the idea of roasting the vegetables! Definitely will try this!

Sounds so comforting and warming. I'm gonna try this. I like the idea of roasting the vegetables.

Sounds so comforting Mel!

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