Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a "cooking party". The invite suggested that I bring the ingredients for a favorite recipe of mine and be prepared to eat a feast! A small group of girls gathered in the kitchen and set to work. I was so surprised at how smoothly everything went, from the sharing of chopping boards to the timing of the oh so coveted oven. A day devoting to dining was a much needed reminder of why I love to cook. Watching spare ingredients transform from mundane to magnificent is a marvelous thing. I resolved to set aside time to cook this week, however full my schedule may be.
A sale on tomatoes at the market and a chill in the air made Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup the obvious choice for my quest in the kitchen. As the clock approached midnight I began to question the sanity of my decision. All doubts were washed away when the first drop of garlicky goodness graced my tongue. Today I am bleary eyed but not dreary, I know that another bowl full of bright and warm flavors will sing me through the day.
Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup
3lbs tomatoes, quartered
2 carrots cut in chunks7 cloves unpeeled garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chicken broth
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon brandy
1/3 cup half and half
grated Parmesan or grilled cheese sandwich, for serving
Place tomatoes, carrots and garlic in a large baking dish. Drizzle oil over the veggies, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees for an hour. Squeeze the garlic cloves until they are released from their papery prisons. Then, in a large soup pot bring the tomato mixture, garlic, chicken broth, and thyme sprigs to a low boil, lower heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove thyme stems from the pot and either use an immersion blender or standard blender to create your desired soup consistency. (At this point the soup can be strained. If you happen to like a slightly chunky soup or, if you are ridiculously lazy feel free to skip that step and move right along to the next one, there's booze involved!)Return soup to pot. Add brandy, cream, salt and pepper to taste. Cook over a medium flame until just heated through, then serve.