I have been looking for the perfect cream of tomato recipe for about ten years. I think I may be close with this one. Originally, the recipe was from Cooks Dot Com, but I have made some major improvements to it. Here is the base recipe:
Two (2) tbs butter
One and a half (1.5) c chopped onion
One (1) tsp minced garlic
One-half (0.5) tsp salt
One (1) tsp minced fresh rosemary
Two (2) tsp minced fresh basil
One (1) tsp freshly ground black pepper
Two (2) 15 oz cans of peeled, diced tomatoes
Three (3) tbsp dry sherry
One-quarter (0.25) tsp agave (or honey)
Four (4) oz cream cheese
Pour the tomatoes in a large sauce pan and simmer on low. Stir occasionally. They are usually done by the time you prepare the onions, but I am a slow cook. It is better to over-cook the tomatoes, so start them early if you are an efficient cook.
Mince the rosemary. Or better: get out of the mortar and pestle. You do not want big chunks of rosemary in your soup; and the blending will not chop up these fine particles. Mince the basil; or not; it doesn’t so much matter with the basil.
Saute the onions and garlic in butter—at a lower temperature than you would normally cook when using (say) olive oil; the temperature should be low enough that you don’t have to worry about the butter turning brown or the garlic becoming the consistancy of bac-o-bits; I use medium-low to medium. When the onions start to get wilted, add the salt, mix, and continue cooking until the onions are transparent.
Add the rosemary, basil, and pepper to the onions and saute for five more minutes; or until the tomatoes are done.
Pour the contents of the onion pan into the tomato sauce pan. Mix the contents. Turn up the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan and simmer for about ten (10) minutes. Uncover and add the sherry and agave. Mix and test the soup. If it seems way off, add more agave, but don’t push it. Simmer another half-hour.
Cut the cream cheese into small pieces and add them to the soup, one by one. Make sure that the cheese is fully melted before moving on to the next one.
Transfer the soup into a blender in parts. Never fill the blender more than half-way, because the soup is hot and will likely expand when blended. Blend to a fairly fine consistancy, but don’t destroy it. Empty into a serving bowl.
Serve with heavy cream (to taste—a lot in my case) and top with parsley.
This may sound more complex than it is. I have put more instructions than most cooks would need. Basically, you just cook the stuff, throw it in a blender, and there you are: soup. And it is very good.
Rather than canned tomatoes, it can be made with over-ripe tomatoes you probably have around at the end of the summer. I wouldn’t recommend the kind of fresh tomatoes you find in the store most of the year. And it really isn’t worth paying for hothouse tomatoes.
Let me know if you try it.