3 lbs. Tomatoes, cut in half crosswise & seeded
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 small Celery Stalks, finely chopped 3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Onion, chopped
1 small Carrot, coarsely chopped
3 cups Chicken Broth, divided
5 fresh Tarragon Sprigs
1 cup Whipping Cream
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
Italian Bread, cubes
Shredded Mozzarella, Gruyere Cheese or Baby Swiss Cheese
Garnish: chopped Tomato
BRUSH tomato halves with olive oil; place tomato halves, cut side down, in an aluminum foil lined shallow baking dish (I use a cookie sheet, no foil).
Bake uncovered, at 400 degrees, for 45 min. or until tomato is soft & skins are dark.
Cool to touch; remove skins.
RINSE celery & chop.
MELT butter in a large saucepan over med. Heat, add celery, onion & carrot, & cook 12 min. or until vegetables are tender. Add 2 cups chicken broth, tarragon & parsley. Reduce heat & simmer, uncovered, 30 min. Remove from heat.
Discard herb sprigs & add tomato halves. Cool slightly.
POUR mixture into a blender; process until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.
Return puree to saucepan; stir in whipping cream. Bring just to a simmer; stir in remaining 1 cup chicken broth, salt & pepper.
TO serve, ladle soup into individual bowls; top each serving with Italian or French bread cubes, top with mozzarella or a slice of Swiss Cheese & broil until melted.)
Garnish, if desired.
Yield: 7 cups.