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A mere tablespoon of cream turns fresh tomato soup into swoon material. Don't cook it in, add it at the table.
This is my winter stash (if we can stop eating it now). Tomatoes that taste like heaven are essential here. Every area has its standouts. For us it's the Brandywines, the German Pinks, Early Cascades, Tiger Stripes, Green Zebras and sundry others. By now you probably have your own list of favorites, or you own sources.
Do not use Romas, or any other canning tomato that isn't stunningly good. The soup holds for a week in the fridge, it's good hot, warm or cool, and freezes well.
Peel the tomatoes only if you don't want bits of skin. If the tomato is good, the skin will not be bitter. I like the texture bits of it give the soup, but this is a personal preference.
- Good tasting extra virgin olive oil
- 3 medium onions, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- Pinch hot red pepper flakes
- 1 generous tablespoon tomato paste
- 2-1/2 to 3 cups chicken broth (homemade preferred, but low sodium canned works, too)
- A big handful fresh basil leaves, torn
- 15 medium or 10 large delicious ripe tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped (do capture their juices for the soup)
- 1 cup heavy cream (for serving)
1. Generously film the bottom of a 12-quart pot with olive oil. Set over medium high heat. When warm, add onions and about 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions start to color.
2. Stir in the garlic, red pepper, and tomato paste. Cook 1 minute. Add broth, basil, and tomatoes. Bring to a lively simmer, cover the pot, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until tomatoes are softened and soup tastes fresh, but mellow. Adjust seasonings to taste.
3. Once soup has cooled, puree two-thirds in a blender or food processor. Rewarm or serve close to room temperature. The all-important finish is stirring a generous tablespoon of cream into each bowl.