From Cook’s Country and altered by Me
Are you kidding me? You can use it to brush your teeth, scrub your counters, or make your refrigerator smell better. Still, we were shocked at the difference that a mere ½ teaspoon of baking soda made in our Classic Tomato Soup. It neutralized some of the acid in the tomatoes for a perfect sweet-tart balance. And its sodium ions weakened the pectin in the cells of the tomatoes, allowing them to puree into a silken soup.
Drain tomatoes in colander set over large bowl, pressing lightly to release juices. Transfer tomato juice and chicken broth to large measuring cup (mixture should measure about 4 cups); reserve.
Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add two-thirds of drained tomatoes, bay leaf, and brown sugar, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to brown, about 15 minutes.
Add tomato paste and flour to pot and cook, stirring frequently, until paste begins to darken, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly stir in reserved tomato juice-broth mixture, remaining tomatoes, baking soda and ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Discard bay leaf. Cover Dutch oven with aluminum foil. Using immersion blender puree soup. Stir in dry sherry, pepper, cayenne pepper, and additional salt, if necessary. Serve. (Soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 days.)