Sun-Dried Tomato Soup

I love a fresh tomato soup, but in the dead of winter, where’s a girl to find a ripe tomato? As an alternate, I enjoy the deep tomato flavours the sun-drying process produces. This is a “pantry soup” of the simplest kind. (I added fresh basil to this batch, but would not do it again as it doesn’t blend well)

1/2 cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes (I drain them, but save the oil)
5-6 shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup whipping cream (reserve until end)

Sauté the shallots and garlic in a bit of the olive oil the tomatoes were packed in. When they have softened, add the wine, scraping up any brown bits off the pan. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the cream. Cover, bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and puree with an immersion blender or food processor. Stir in the whipping cream. Voila! Perfect for dipping your grilled cheese sandwich into.

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