Recipe Review

Smitten Kitchen Relies on a Hands-Off Method to Make the Ultimate Tomato Soup

published Jan 19, 2023
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Smitten Kitten's tomato soup served in a bowl.
Credit: Photo: Linda Xiao; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

Smitten Kitchen’s tomato soup is beloved by many, including Kitchn contributor Jesse Szewczyk. Deb Perelman is known for her fresh but classic takes on many comfort foods, and I knew I wanted to see how she approached such a timeless soup. 

Get the recipe: Smitten Kitchen’s Cream of Tomato Soup

How To Make Smitten Kitchen’s Cream of Tomato Soup

This soup starts off unlike any other of the soups: You’ll roast the canned tomatoes in the oven. The juices concentrate and caramelize slightly in the high heat of a 450°F degree oven. After a quick cool-down, they’re whizzed together with sautéed butter and shallots, tomato paste and flour for heft, plus a little stock to smooth things out. A bit of cream and some optional brandy is stirred in at the end. 

Credit: Photo: Linda Xiao; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

My Honest Review of Smitten Kitchen’s Cream of Tomato Soup

I loved this soup. I really liked the hands-off method of getting that deep, roasted tomato flavor. With most of the heavy lifting down in the oven, it comes together quite quickly on the stovetop. My only issue was with lining the baking sheet with foil before roasting. I assume this was done for easy cleanup, but I felt like I left a lot of flavorful brown bits on the foil that just got thrown away. Next time I’d just roasted them directly on the baking sheet, add a little of the stock onto the tray when it comes out of the oven and scrape up all the roasted tomato goodness.

Despite this soup being called “cream of tomato,” it actually isn’t that dairy-heavy. I would recommend starting with half of the dairy called for and add more to taste as Deb indicates. Adding the optional brandy or sherry also helps cut through the butter and cream in a subtle way that’s nice.

This soup really is all about deep tomato flavor. While I can’t really fault a tomato soup for tasting like tomato, it’s why I didn’t give it a perfect score. I did like the variation of flavor the aromatics played in the other versions I tested. 

Blending hot soup in batches isn’t the easiest thing to do, but you’re only blending together the tomatoes and a few shallots with this one, so it’s easy to get a smooth consistency with an immersion blender. Conversely, it’s easier to leave a few chunks in the soup if that’s your preference. 

I did find that the soup thickened up as it sat overnight. I prefer it a bit thinner, so I just stirred a couple of spoonfuls of water in when I reheated it. 

Credit: Photo: Linda Xiao; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

If You’re Making Smitten Kitchen’s Cream of Tomato Soup, a Few Tips

  1. Consider skipping lining the baking sheet with foil. Pour a little stock on the baking sheet after roasting to scrape up any brown bits.
  2. Start with adding half of the cream. Taste and add more as desired.
  3. The brandy or sherry is optional, but cuts through the butter and cream. Add it if you have it on hand.

Overall rating: 9.5/10