As we head into late August here in the Hamptons, every farm stand you pass is loaded with BEAUTIFUL tomatoes of all description. It is hard not to stop at every stand and buy everything in site. However, I do have my favorite farm stand, Pantigo Farms, owned and operated by Sam and Hillary Lester. On Friday I was driving by their farm stand and stopped for some heirloom tomatoes. But, of course, there were freshly picked cherry tomatoes of several varieties, including sungold. I didn’t know what I was going to do with them, but I bought a quart and headed home with my cooking wheels turning.
I wrote a blog last summer about making Marinara Capresse Style, so that was out. I looked in the refrigerator at what I had in the vegetable bin and what else was an odd or end that needed to be used. The light when on – even though it is summer, why can’t I make a soup? I love soup no matter what time of year and I could think of nothing better than the sweetness of these diamonds of the vine teamed up with a lot of great supporting players. Out came the carrots, garlic, shallots, thyme and the remainder of some chicken stock in the fridge.
I decided to roast them all together to intensify the flavor and sweetness of my ingredients. I halved the cherry tomatoes, peeled and quartered 3 large carrots, sliced up 4 large shallots, tossed in 12, yes 12, whole cloves of garlic and 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves and put it all on a sheet pan. Drizzled a little olive oil over it and seasoned with salt and pepper. After mixing it all around with my hands to make sure the olive oil was well distributed, I baked it in a 350 degree oven for a little over an hour – until the carrots are tender, so you have to test it about 45 minutes into the cooking time.
While that was cooking I put about 3 1/2 cups of chicken stock in a large sauce pot. Once the vegetables were roasted I put them in the sauce pot with the chicken broth and added 1/2 teaspoon of 1/2 sharp Hungarian paprika and 1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika and let it simmer about 15 minutes. At this point you can either let it cool and process until smooth in a food processor or use an immersion blender to smooth out the soup. I used an immersion blender, but it took a little more time to make sure it was properly pureed. I then checked for salt and pepper and adjusted it a bit.
The end result was unbelievably good. I let the soup sit in the refrigerator overnight so that the flavors could develop and it was well worth the wait! The 1/2 sharp Hungarian paprika gave it a good “kick”, but if you don’t have any, just put in a little cayenne pepper. If you don’t like any heat, just use double the amount of sweet Hungarian paprika.
Cherry Tomato & Carrot Thyme Soup
1 quart whole cherry tomatoes, halved
3 large carrots, peeled, quartered and cut in half again
4 large shallots, cut each shallot into 8 quarters
12 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
3 1/2 or 4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon 1/2 sharp Hungarian Paprika
1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian Paprika
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add cherry tomatoes, carrots, shallots, garlic and thyme leave on a large sheet pan. Drizzle a little olive oil over the vegetables and seasoned with salt and pepper, mixing it well with your hands to make sure the olive oil is well distributed. Bake in a 350 degree oven for a little over and hour – until the carrots are tender – test the carrots about 45 minutes into the cooking time.
While the vegetables are cooking put the chicken stock in a large sauce pot. Once the vegetables are finished roasting, put them in the sauce pot with the chicken broth and add the sharp Hungarian paprika and sweet Hungarian paprika and let it simmer about 15 minutes. At this point you can either let it cool and process until smooth in a food processor or use an immersion blender to smooth out the soup. If you use an immersion blender, make sure to take a little more time to make sure the soup is properly pureed. Check for salt and pepper and adjust if necessary. It is best to let the soup set overnight so that the flavors can develop.
Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt and enjoy!