I searched for cooking methods to use to make the soup and ended up most impressed with Michael Chiarello's Homemade Tomato Soup. So hat tip to him for the idea for roasting the tomatoes.
Homemade Roasted Tomato SoupFirst take the Roma tomatoes and cut an X, not too deep, on the bottom so that the skin will be easy to peel off. Then dip the tomatoes for about 1 minute into boiling water and remove and set into an ice bath. Leave for about 30 seconds, then take tomato out of ice bath and peel off skin.
8 Roma tomatoes, skin removed
6 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon butter
2 cans diced tomatoes, divided by juice and tomatoes
1 1/2 cups milk
2 Bay leaves
1 tablespoon basil
Parmesan to taste
In a pan, cook the mirepoix -- carrots, celery, onions and garlic in some butter. While that is cooking, roughly chop up the tomatoes and put them on a roasting pan.
Then roast the tomatoes under a broiler until the ends of most of the tomatoes start to blacken.
Take about 3/4 of the tomatoes and chop up into smaller pieces and add them to the mirepoix. Then take the tomatoes and mirepoix and put in a blender. Add some of the milk. Blend until the mixture has a slightly chunky texture. Continue to blend the rest of the tomato-mirepoix mixture.
Put the blended mixture back into the pan and add the seasonings, including Bay leaves, basil, salt and pepper. (At this point, we felt our soup was a bit too orange from the carrots, so we took out 2 cans of salt-free diced tomatoes and put the tomatoes in the blender, too, to include in the dish. We saved the juice and ended up blending that in with the mixture.)
Let that simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes, then take the Bay leaves out. Then serve with grilled cheese sandwich.
The soup turned out great. There were some minor bumps along the way, but with some quick thinking, it was a great combination of flavors.
The tomato flavor especially was rich and thick. The consistency provided three layers of contrast: the thin layer of liquid, the heavy later of blended soup and then the small amount of tomato chunks added at the end.
The basil and Bay leaf really came out, too, and the mirepoix of vegetables provided a lingering affect at the end of each bite.
The one thing we changed when we had leftovers was to buy a loaf of crusty bread and use that for the grilled cheese; our normal bread just wilted on our new Calphalon pans because the pans conduct heat much better than our previous ones.