Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Homemade Version of Campbell's Cream of Tomato Soup

As a wedding present, we were given a copy of, "The New Best Recipe: All-New Edition" (by America's Test Kitchen and the editors of Cook's Illustrated) from our dear friends Vanessa and Eddie. It is a huge resource full of all sorts of recipes and extra information collected by America's Test Kitchen. I just started flipping through it recently and I discovered a recipe for "Cream of Tomato Soup" which looked appealing. I had been planning to make it for a few weeks but didn't get around to it until last night. 

I had read the recipe several weeks ago so didn't really carefully re-read it last night and since it only has 3 steps I mistakenly though it would only take 30 t0 45 minutes to get ready. Sadly I was mistaken - it took about 1.5 hours and since I didn't start it until after 8:30pm it meant that we ate around 10pm last night. Sigh... Someday I'll manage to get dinners ready at a reasonable hour. 

It was quite tasty though. Here's the recipe with my notes in {}:

Cream of Tomato Soup
by America's Test Kitchen from The New Best Recipe, copyright 2004
serves 4 

2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice, drained, 3 cups juice reserved 
1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar 
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 large shallots, minced 
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Pinch ground allspice 
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth 
1/2 cup heavy cream 
2 tablespoons brandy or dry sherry  {I didn't have either of these so I left them out}
Salt and cayenne pepper {I also left out the cayenne pepper since we don't like spicy soups}

1. Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Seed the tomatoes and spread in a single layer on the foil. 

{The tomato seeding step took me about 20 minutes and ended up being pointless because I needed more juice and since there were tons of seeds in the juice anyways I ended up adding the extra juice that was removed along with the seeds. I think they made the soup a little more lumpy but I didn't mind it too much. I would probably skip that step if I made the soup again to save some time.} 

Sprinkle  evenly with the brown sugar.

Bake until all the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes begin to color, about 30 minutes.

Let the tomatoes cool slightly, then peel them off of the foil; transfer to a small bowl and set aside. 

2. Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add the shallots, tomato paste, and allspice. 

Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. 

Whisking constantly, gradually add the chicken broth; stir in the reserved tomato juice and the roasted tomatoes. Cover, increase the heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend the flavors, about 10 minutes. 

3. Strain the mixture into a medium bowl; rinse out the saucepan.

Transfer the tomatoes and solids in the strainer to a blender; add 1 cup of the strained liquid and puree until smooth. {The food processor worked just fine instead of a blender.}

Combine the pureed mixture and remaining strained liquid in the saucepan. Add the cream and warm over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the brandy and season with salt and cayenne to taste. Serve immediately. (The soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 days. Warm over low heat until hot; do not boil.)

Yum! I served it along with grilled cheese sandwiches, orange slices, shredded chicken (left over from the stock I had made the day before), and a green salad. It was a very yummy and comforting dinner. I'll have to make it again next time we have a rainy day! 

And it's a good thing it can be reheated for up to 2 days because I am going to go reheat the leftovers for lunch right now. :) 


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