Roasted Tomato Soup

Hayley's Homemade Roasted Tomato Soup with Feta Crumbles!
I hated tomato soup until I tried this recipe. After making a big batch of this you'll never want to purchase the canned-crap at the store again! The recipe I'm posting is for a single batch, with great success I've doubled, tripled and quadrupled it! Today I made a triple batch with 15 pounds of tomatoes fresh picked from our garden!
20# of tomatoes picked 8/17/12

5lbs of fresh tomatoes, wash, core, and quarter
1/4c fat of your choice (tallow, lard, coconut oil, etc)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

2T Butter
1c chopped onion
1-2T sugar or honey
2c water
Crushed Red Pepper, Salt and Pepper to taste

In a 9 x 13 pan (or other similar pan with sides) combine the tomatoes, fat, garlic and liberally salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 450  on the middle rack for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Some tomatoes may get browned and will become very juicy!
15# of tomatoes roasting in the oven 8/17/12

While your tomatoes are roasting in the oven, In a large pot over medium heat, add butter and onions. Cook about 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add 1T sugar, and a pinch of crushed red pepper, cook 1 minute, then add 2c water... simmer over med/low. Add in the roasted tomato/garlic mixture and simmer for 10 minutes.

Fill your blender no more than 1/2 way with the hot tomato soup and puree until smooth. I then pour my soup into another clean pot through a fine mesh colander to be sure i don't have any seed or skin lumps - the extra step is what makes the soup velvety!! (be very very careful if your blender does not have a steam escaping lid - over filling your blender will cause a huge mess of very hot liquid exploding out of your blender!!! We have a vitamix and its lid vents the steam so I don't have to worry but most normal blenders do not - I recommend blending very small batches as a precaution!

Simmer your blended, strained soup over low until it's your desired thickness. Season with additional crushed red pepper, sugar, salt and pepper to your taste. We like about 1/3t crushed red pepper and 1 1/2T sugar - it's a little spicy!

Add some cheese or cream if desired into your bowl! We love a grilled cheese with feta, mozzarella and pesto dipped in this soup!!!

If you make a big batch - you can freeze it or, like me, I can pint and quart jars (pressure can 40 min at 10# pressure using standard 2part lids and sterilized jars)