Heirloom Tomato Soup

Let's start with an easy one ... since you're looking at that picture up there!  I love to make this on a rainy saturday afternoon.  It kinda takes some time to get it all together, but it's SO worth it.  This is really tasty with a grilled cheese sandwich - however you like it ... butter-soaked toasted white bread and kraft slices, or the way I make them:  Airy Cibatta with a mixture of Gruyere and Fontina, cooked really slow in a skillet with the lid on!  Now, that, my friends, is some gooey, cheesy, goodness!!  Either way, this tomato soup will have you passing up the red and white can every time.

2-3 lbs heirloom tomatoes; I throw in a handful of sweet 100s too - if you don't have access to heirlooms, stick to something like a big boy and plum tomato
1 large Vidalia onion sliced from end to end, not chopped (like rings, but in half); if you don't have access to Vidalias, pick up some sweet onions (like Peru)
olive oil
3 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed with the heel of your hand over a knife blade, flat
1 qt chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Olive oil
1/2 stick of unsalted butter
S&P (I use Kosher Salt)

(1)  Core and cut your tomatoes in chunks
(2)  In a roasting pan big enough, put the tomatoes, onions, garlic in a single layer, and drizzle with about 1/2c of olive oil.  Stir the mixture around a bit, just enough to coat the veggies.  Add salt & a few grinds of pepper

 (3) In a preheated oven (450 degrees), roast the tomatoes, onions and garlic for about :30, or until the onions start to caramelized.  I like my onions really smokey, so I let them get a bit brown.

(4)  Remove the roasted tomato mixture to a stockpot, and add the stock, butter, bay leaves and thyme.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about :15, or until the liquid has reduced by 1/3.

(5) Fish out the thyme sprigs (should be just little sticks by now) and the bay leaves.  Use an immersion blender and puree the soup till smooth.  If you choose to add cream, now is the time.  If not, you can add more stock to get the consistency you want.  Season with more salt & pepper, and add a garnish of chiffonaded basil, if you like.

Don't forget your grilled cheese - this one actually has some bacon in it!!

WINE PAIRING: Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay (stay away from red, too tannic and the tomatoes are acidic enough).  This would also be good with a really big glass of milk.

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