Cream of Tomato Soup (Cook’s Illustrated version)

2 (28-ounce) Cans whole tomatoes packed in juice, drained – 3 cups of juice reserved
1 ½ TBSP dark brown sugar
4 TBSP (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

4 large shallots
1 TBSP tomato paste
Pinch ground Allspice
2 TBSP all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
2 TBSP brandy or dry sherry
Salt and Cayenne pepper


1. Adjust oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Seed the tomatoes and spread in a single layer on the foil. Sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar. Bake umtil all the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes begin to color, about 30 minutes. Let the tomatoes cool slightly, then peel them off the foil; transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

2. Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add the shallots. Tomato paste and allspice. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook stirring occasionally until the shallots are softened, 7-10 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. Whisking constantly, gradually add the chicken broth; stir in the reserved tomato juice and the roaster tomatoes. Cover, increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend the flavors, about 10 minutes.

3. Strain the mixture into a medium bowl. Rinse out the saucepan. Transfer the tomatoes and solids in the strainer to a blender; add 1 cup of the strained liquid and puree until smooth. Combine the pureed mixture and remaining strained liquid in the saucepan. Add the cream and warm over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Off the heat. Stir in the brandy and season with salt and cayenne to taste. Serve immediately. (Soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 days. Warm over low heat until hot; do not boil.)