1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup Vidalia or sweet onion, chopped
8-10 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon tomato paste (4 teaspoons)
8 Roma tomatoes, cut into big chunks
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Special equipment: immersion blender (preferred) or blender*
In a stock pot on medium heat add olive oil, onions, thyme, paprika and serrano pepper. Season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir with a wooden spoon and cook until onions are tender and translucent, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste, stirring to coat everything in the pot. Cook while stirring on medium until paste appears a deep red color, about 5 more minutes. Add tomato chunks and raise the heat until they begin to bubble. Cook while stirring the tomatoes to insure a bit of moisture evaporates from them, but they don't burn. Cook this way until the tomatoes are tender and the skins are peeling off, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and raise to a boil then lower to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
Remove pot from the heat and using an immersion blender, blitz soup in the pot leaving a few chunks of tomatoes for texture. Slowly stir in cream. Serve warm.
*If using a blender, remove a few chunks of tomato from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside. Blitz remaining soup in batches, only filling the blender 1/3 of the way with the hot soup. Any more than that and the blender could burst with pressure upon blending. Be safe! It's hot! Return blended soup and reserved tomato chunks back to the pot. Serve warm.