I wanted to develop a dish that everyone loves (tomato soup) and create a recipe that would impress people even though the vegetable was not at the peak of its season, but could be prepared and served all year round.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the tomatoes, garlic and shallots in a bowl with the picked thyme leaves, olive oil and vinegar. Spread on a roasting or sheet pan until the tomatoes have some charred color. Watch the garlic to make sure it does not burn. You may need to pull some of the cloves before the tomatoes, if that starts to happen.
Put all of the remaining ingredients (reserving some mint to garnish) into a stainless steel pot with straight, high sides. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 20 minutes. You may want to give the soup a pulse with an immersion blender, or mash with a potato masher, depending on how smooth or chunky you like it. Season with salt and pepper and add a little more brown sugar or vinegar if necessary, depending on the tartness or sweetness of your tomatoes.
To serve, ladle the soup into your bowl and tear the remaining mint leaves on top to garnish.