Creamy Tomato Soup

This grown-up spin on the childhood favorite is flavorful, aromatic, slightly boozy and just about the best thing ever on a chilly day. We like to serve this soup with lots of good-quality bread for mopping up all of the delectable flavors.

PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 hours 0 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large white or yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, grated
1 large clove garlic, smashed and peeled
1 teaspoon allspice
3 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons cognac or brandy (see cook's note)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat oil and butter in a large, heavy stockpot to medium on the stove top. Add onion and carrot and cook until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, sugar and allspice and cook for 2 more minutes. Add cognac or brandy and let cook for 3 more minutes, until the alcohol begins to cook off. Add stock and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat, uncover pot, adjust seasoning and let the soup stand for 10-15 minutes until cools. Blend soup, working in batches in a blender or food processor until it is almost smooth. Add blended soup back to pot, stir in cream and simmer to heat through. Serve warm.

COOK'S NOTE: Hard liquor is highly flammable. If you are using a gas flame, we recommend turning off the heat before adding cognac or brandy.