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Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until the butter melts. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and thyme (or parsley); cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds.
Stir in canned tomatoes (with juice). Add broth; bring to a lively simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Stir in half-and-half (if using), salt and pepper.