3sprigs of thymetied together with string (or chopped)
Saltto taste (about 1 ½ teaspoons is a good bet)
Fresh ground pepperto taste
To smoke the tomatoes:
Prep your smoker to 250 degrees.
Toss your tomatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and old bay seasoning, and place them on a foil lined sheet pan. Smoke them for up to 2 hours.
Remove from smoker and peel the skins from the tomatoes while they are still warm.
To make the soup:
Heat the butter in a large soup pot set to medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-9 minutes (until soft). Add the garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
Add the stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf and thyme (wrapped in kitchen twine), and lower to a simmer.
Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf.
Using a hand immersion blender (or counter top blender), blend the soup until smooth.
Whisk in the cream, and season with salt and pepper.
For a non-vegetarian version, begin the soup with 2 thick pieces of diced bacon. Remove bacon pieces and discard half the bacon fat. Then move on to step 1 (butter, veggies, etc). Then top the soup with the reserved crispy bacon pieces.