This tomato soup is deceptively simple. The flavors are fresh and well-defined. The addition of heavy cream is optional, but it adds a richness to the soup. If you are worried about the calories or fat, substitute whole milk or evaporated milk, but the flavor will not be the same. This soup freezes well; just wait to add the cream after reheating it.
Lower the tomatoes into a pot of boiling water for approximately 15 seconds. Remove to ice water. Drain the tomato and nick the skin with a sharp paring knife. The skin should easily peel off in large pieces.
Peel and chop the tomatoes, removing the seeds. Place them in a heavy saucepan with the chicken broth over medium heat. Bring to a low boil.
Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer the soup for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Be careful with salt, the chicken broth likely has plenty.
Puree the soup in a blender for a smooth texture, or leave it chunky as you desire.
Ladle the soup into bowls and add 2 tbsp. of heavy cream to each bowl. Swirl it in and garnish with fresh basil, if desired.
You can also make this recipe with canned tomatoes when fresh tomatoes are not available.
Do not add cream to the soup while simmering, it will curdle.