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Creamy Tomato Soup

Last week I went grocery shopping. Thrilling stuff, huh? Just bear with me…it gets better. I was just getting ready to throw a couple of cans of our favorite Progresso soup in our cart when something stopped me. “Hey,” I thought to myself, “I should make my own tomato soup. It can’t be that hard, right?” The cans went back on the shelf and I went back home to attempt a homemade tomato soup.

The truth is, making your own tomato soup isn’t that hard. But it does take a lot of steps. And at some point in the process, when I found myself covered in tomato juice and seeds, I wondered if all that work could really be worth it. Answer? Yes. Most definitely. Worth every single minute.

The Mr. and I both agreed this was the best tomato soup we’ve ever had. Way better than a can and better than any other restaurant soup we’ve ever tried. It’s rich and creamy, with just a teeny tiny kick from the cayenne pepper. And putting sherry in tomato soup? Best. idea. ever. We served the soup with a healthy sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and leftover herb bread. Pretty much the perfect meal for a cool fall night.

Creamy Tomato Soup
Yield: 6-8 servings
Recipe inspired by Smitten Kitchen 

2 cans whole tomatoes, drained with 3 cups of juice reserved
1 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 Tablespoons flour
1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken stock (sub veggie stock for vegetarian version)
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup half and half
2 Tablespoons dry sherry
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt as needed

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
2. Place a mesh strainer over a bowl next to the baking sheets. Take the whole tomatoes and, using your fingers, split the tomatoes, pushing out the seeds. Place seeded tomatoes on baking sheet (I wasn’t super picky about the seeds, if you get most of them, you’re good!). Bake at 450 for about 30 minutes, or until liquid is evaporated.
3. Meanwhile, heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until bubbly. Add onions and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook until combined, about 30 seconds.
4. Add chicken stock in 3 batches, whisking until incorporated each time. Stir in reserved tomato juice and roasted tomatoes. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 10 minutes.
5. Pour mixture through a strainer into a bowl. Transfer solids to a blender along with one cup liquids and puree. Pour back into the saucepan along with the rest of the liquids and return to heat.
6. Add cream and heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sherry, additional salt as needed and dash cayenne. Serve with shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

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