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Roasted Tomato Soup
with Fresh Herbs
(recipe, Patricia Wells)
At the end of summer when plum tomatoes are still in abundance in our garden and the days are growing cooler, this flavorful soup is perfect. The process of roasting the tomatoes is the same one used to prepare homemade sun-dried tomatoes, yet the tomatoes are baked in a slightly hotter oven and not nearly as long. What you're looking for is similar to what the French call a confit, an intensely flavored, reduced essence of tomato. (Yet unlike the true tomato confit, these tomatoes are baked with all their pulp and seeds, making for a less dense, more juicy flavor.) This soup is the ideal gift for anyone who gardens and grows tomatoes.
- 2 lb. (1 kg.) fresh plum (Roma) tomatoes
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- 4 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh herb leaves, such as a mix of summer savory, basil, parsley, and thyme
- About 1 quart (1 liter) homemade chicken stock
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
- Trim and discard the stem ends of the tomatoes. Halve each tomato lengthwise. Arrange the tomatoes, cut sides up, on a baking sheet side by side. Sprinkle lightly with salt and about half the herbs.
- Place in the oven and bake until the tomatoes are nearly dried and shriveled, about 2 hours. Check the tomatoes from time to time. They should still be rather flexible but not at all brittle, and most of their juice should have baked away.
- Remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow them to cool slightly. Place a food mill (fitted with the coarsest blade) over a large bowl. Transfer the tomatoes to the food mill and purée.
- Meanwhile, pour the stock into a large stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the tomatoes and stir to blend. Lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle. Taste for seasoning. Serve in warmed shallow soup bowls and sprinkle with fresh herbs.