Summer Tomato Soup with Chipotle Cream
It was 96 degrees today, dripping with humidity, a mean fist of heat that punched me in the face each time I was stupid enough to open the door. Needless to say, not a day for ovens or cooktops or hot soup.
And yet…I made this soup anyhow. I made it because it’s the best tomato soup I make, rich and deeply tomato-y and a perfect way to use a few big beauties when you’ve grown a wee bit tired of BLTs* and caprese salad.
The downside is that it requires fresh, garden tomatoes, the very ones that ripen and become perfect in 96-degree heat. Life’s unfair that way.
While the tomatoes are roasted, they’re not roasted, as in, they’re more nicely concentrated than completely dried. In fact, they emerge from the oven still quite juicy, with lovely caramelized bits that add depth to the soup. The chipotle cream is just…chipotles and cream. Stirred together, in a ratio adjusted to your liking, the cream’s smoky heat perfectly compliments the sweet, rich tomatoes.
Since you’re turning on the oven, you might as well heat a skillet too, and make yourself a crunchy, buttery grilled cheese sandwich. Even in the heat of a hellishly hot summer, tomato soup with grilled cheese hits the spot.
*And if you haven’t grown a wee bit tired of BLTs, check out the Crispy Club Sandwich with Avocado. A pretty dreamy hot/crunchy, cool/creamy showcase for a perfectly ripe tomato. Summer is good.
Roasted Tomato Soup with Chipotle Cream
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, March 1993
Stephanie’s note: I think this soup is delicious at room temperature and chilled as well.
3 lbs. garden tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
3 unpeeled large garlic cloves
3 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 c. chicken broth (perhaps more, to thin the soup to your liking)
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 chipotle chili (from a can of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce), minced to a paste (add some of the adobo sauce as well for more heat)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread the tomatoes, skin side down, in the one layer in 2 foil-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a little salt. Add the garlic to 1 of the pans, and bake the tomatoes and the garlic for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the tomatoes are very soft and their skin is dark brown. Let the tomatoes and garlic cool in the pans on racks.
Stir together the cream and chipotle pepper and set aside.
In a heavy saucepan cook the shallot, the oregano, and a sprinkle of salt over moderately low heat, stirring, until the shallot is soft. Add the tomatoes, garlic (skins discarded), and broth. Simmer the mixture, covered for 15 minutes. Puree in a blender, or use an immersion blender, until soup is smooth. Add more broth to achieve desired consistency. Stir in balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve swirled with chipotle cream. (Can be made one day ahead, cover and chill.)