This soup is excellent, though quite rich....sweet, savory and complex...I really love how the cognac adds a whole new dimensionof flavor! I would cut back a bit on the brown sugar next time. I used slightly less heavy cream (I just couldn't bring myself to use 1/2 a cup), and about 1 1/2 Tbsp cognac instead of 2 Tbsp. I also used 1 small onion as I didn't have shallots. To puree, I used an immersion blender instead of a regular blender.
Cooks Illustrated Cream of Tomato Soup
from "The New Best Recipe"
2x 28oz. cans of whole tomatoes packed in juice, drained. 3 cups of juice reserved.
1.5 TBL packed dark brown sugar
4 TBL unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
4 large shallots, minced
1 Tbl tomato paste
pinch of allspice
2 Tbl AP flour
1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken stock
1/2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbl brandy or sherry
salt and cayenne peeper to taste
1.) Adjust an oven rack to the upper middle position and preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Seed the tomatoes and arrange them on a single layer on the foil, and sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar. Bake until all liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes begin to color (about 30 minutes). Let the tomatoes cool slightly, then peel them off the foil; transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
2.) Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until foamy. Add the shallots, tomato paste and allspice. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened (7-10 minutes). Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly combined (about 30 seconds). Whisking constantly, gradually add the chick 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 in 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. Combine the pureed mixture and the 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 cayenne to taste.
The soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 days. Warm over low heat until hot. Do not boil.