Cloves, which can be overpowering and should be used with discretion, add a subtle pungent flavor to Tomato Potato Soup.
In a deep small to medium saucepan, cook potatoes in salted boiling water to cover, partially covered, for 15 minutes, or just until tender. Remove potatoes from heat and drain; cool slightly, peel, and cut potatoes into small cubes or shred potatoes with a grater; set aside.
In a deep medium heavy saucepan, melt butter or margarine over low heat; add flour, blending until smooth. Gradually add half-and-half or milk, blending well. Cook, stirring constantly, over moderate heat until thickened and bubbly hot; remove from heat and set aside.
In a small heavy saucepan, combine tomatoes, onion, and cloves; bring mixture to a simmer over low heat and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
Remove cloves from tomatoes; gradually add tomatoes to cream sauce, blending well. Stir in potatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste; stir over low heat until soup is heated through. Ladle soup into soup mugs or cups and garnish each serving with a sprig of parsley or minced parsley and/or a dollop of sour cream. Serve immediately
Note: Milk or reduced-fat or skim milk may be used, but the flavor will not be as rich.