CREAMY ROASTED TOMATO SOUP
Medium carrots, 4 (coarsley chopped)
Medium yellow onions, 2 (coarsley chopped)
Medium leek, 1 (coarsley chopped)
Tomatoes on the vine, 4 pounds (quartered, vine reserved)
Thyme sprigs, 8
Kosher salt, 1 tablespoon (plus more to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon (plus more to taste)
Extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons
Water, 8 cups plus 3 tablespoons, divided
Tomato paste, one 6-ounce can
Crème fraîche, ¼ cup (plus extra for serving)
Preheat the oven to 450°.
Into the bowl of a food processor, add the:
Process until roughly ground, about ten 1-second pulses. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a 4-quart pot. Use the rubber spatula to scrape the mixture into the sieve and press down on it with the back of a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Add the tomato vine to the pot and set aside. Scrape the ground vegetables out onto a rimmed baking sheet, spread into an even layer.
On another rimmed sheet pan, place the:
Arrange the tomatoes cut-side up and sprinkle with:
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Add both baking sheets to the oven. Roast the tomatoes until they begin to break down, about 25 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and set aside.
Rotate the pan with the ground vegetables and continue roasting until the tops are browned, about another 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Using a spatula, scrape the roasted vegetables into the pot with the vegetable liquid and tomato vine. Set aside.
Add to the pot with the liquid:
8 cups water
Bring the water to a boil over high heat.
Place the sheet pan used to roast the vegetables on a burner over medium heat. Add the tomato paste for just a short time, 30 – 45 seconds and cook until the paste begins to darken. Add remaining:
3 tablespoons water
Use the spatula to stir and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the mixture with the scrapings from the pan to the pot with the vegetables, tomato vine and water. Once the water has come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook about 40 minutes. The stock will have a rich, tomato flavor. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl and strain the stock. Rinse the pot and pour the strained stock back into it.
Heat the broiler to high and cook the tomatoes under the broiler until they begin to blacken on top, about 5 minutes.
Discard the thyme sprigs.
Add the broiled tomatoes to the pot with the strained stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the tomatoes break down completely, about 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and cool slightly before blending with an immersion blender. Once the soup is smooth, add:
¼ cup crème fraîche
Blend again and add more salt and pepper if needed. Divide into bowls and serve with a dollop of crème fraîche.
Yield: 4 servings