I'll tell you upfront, this is not a fast soup -- if you want a faster recipe, try Fire-Roasted Tomato Bisque, or Creamy Tomato Soup. This soup has no cream or milk in it, and it doesn't need any. It tastes great as is. The only changes I made were to add fresh thyme sprigs, jalapeno pepper and1/4 tsp. ground chipotle chile pepper. This is our new favorite tomato soup recipe.
Roasted Tomato Soup
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
INGREDIENTS: 5 large tomatoes, quartered, seeds squeezed or pushed out with fingers
7-8 fresh thyme sprigs
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
3 medium yellow onions, peeled, quartered
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and halved
extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste
5 plump cloves of garlic, unpeeled
2-3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable stock, if preferred
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. dried, ground chipotle chile pepper (McCormick)
Preheat oven to 375F and position racks in middle of oven. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or grease with oil. Arrange tomatoes, skin-side down, on one baking sheet. Toss the peppers and onions with olive oil and put them on the other baking sheet, skin-side down for the peppers. Give both sheets a light showering of salt and lay the thyme sprigs over all.
Bake until the tomatoes start to collapse and the onions start to brown and caramelize, about 1 hour. You may have to turn the onions if they start to get dark brown on the edges. Set the timer for 30 minutes, then put the garlic cloves in. If you put them in too soon, they'll burn.
If you do a good job of squeezing the seeds out of the tomatoes, you won't have to pour off the tomato juice about half-way through. The first time I made this soup, I had to pour off juice several times, because I left the seeds in. Subsequently, I found that by squeezing the seeds out first, and the accompanying membrane-liquid, the tomatoes don't give off so much juice as they roast. If you get a lot of juice and don't pour it off, the tomatoes will steam and not roast. If you do pour off juice, save it and add it back into the soup after it's pureed.
Remove veggies from oven when done and let cool on wire rack till you can handle them. Peel the garlic. It's up to you whether you peel the tomatoes and peppers. I did, but the peel has flavor and if you're going to puree the soup any way, you won't notice them in the soup. Dump all the veggies into a 3-quart heavy pot and puree with an immersion blender. If you don't have one, you'll have to use a food processor or blender and do it in batches. Pour the broth in, adding a little at a time till you get the soup to its desired consistency. Add seasonings and taste to adjust. Yield: 1 quart pulp without broth. (This freezes beautifully and will take up less space in the freezer if you do not add the broth until you thaw it. What a great fall/winter treat to reach in the freezer and pull out your soup for dinner -- just add broth, heat and serve. Now that's easy!)