How to Make It
Preheat oven to 400°.
Working with 1 beefsteak tomato at a time, squeeze halves into a bowl; reserve seeds and juice. Arrange garlic and tomatoes, cut sides down, in a single layer on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan; coat with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 50 minutes or until tomatoes are lightly charred. Reserve juices.
Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add rice; sauté 1 minute or until toasted. Add reserved tomato juices, tomato mixture, stock, canned tomatoes, and salt to pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes.
Place half of soup mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining soup mixture. Stir in half-and-half and pepper. Sprinkle with chives, if desired.
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