Where I’m from, dal and rice is seen as the ultimate comfort food whereas in the UK that role is often played by soup. I must admit that a nice warm bowl of soup does help when I’m feeling a bit under the weather. This recipe needs no such excuse though, enjoy it whenever you can get hold of some flavoursome tomatoes!
This is a classic roast tomato soup that my husband and I often prepare in the Zanzaneet Kitchen. Last summer we had a bumper crop of lovely ripe tomatoes from the garden. It’s amazing how many tomatoes 3 or 4 tomato plants can produce. They seem to start slowly in our garden but last September they went crazy. So with nearly 2 kilos of sweet red cherry tomatoes sitting on the worktop, we had to dust down this trusty recipe.
This is a fairly simple dish, with one main ingredient. Sadly shop bought tomatoes don’t always have a great deal of flavour. There’s nowhere to hide in this dish if the tomatoes are bland or underripe. It’s only worth going to the trouble of making this soup if you can get hold of some flavoursome tomatoes. I often make this soup with decent quality shop-bought tomatoes but it’s hard to beat the flavour of home-grown.
To get the best out of whatever tomatoes I have available I roast them with some herbs, onion and garlic, to help to accentuate their flavour.
Simple Roasted Tomato SoupCourse: Starter, MainCuisine: EuropeanDifficulty: Easy
Tomato soup is one of those classic dishes that depends on one main ingredient. I take the humble tomato and make it the star of the show. If I have a load of full-flavoured tomatoes then this is one of my favourite ways to cook them. All I need to go with it is some fresh crusty white baguette and supper is sorted.
This is one of those soups that works perfectly well as a main course. You can serve it as a starter if you wish but sometimes all I need for dinner is a hearty bowl of this bold red soup. It’s a bowl full of sunshine, perfect comfort food to keep you warm on a cold dark night.
1.5kg good quality fresh tomatoes
1 large onion sliced
4 cloves garlic sliced
A handful of lemon thyme
4 bay leaves
25g fresh basil
6 sun-dried tomatoes
4 tsp caster sugar
1 litre chicken (or vegetable) stock
4 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp red chilli powder (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
A few basil leaves, olive oil and a white baguette to serve
- Preheat your oven to 220C.
- Cut the tomatoes in halves (or quarters if large). Toss with the olive oil, lemon thyme, bay leaves, sliced onion and garlic and spread out on 2 large baking trays. Sprinkle with sugar.
- Roast in the oven for 30 minutes until the tomatoes are well roasted. Give each tray a stir every 10 minutes to prevent any of the vegetables on top from getting burnt.
- A few minutes before the tomatoes are ready, warm the stock in a large pan.
- Add all the roasted ingredients to the pan together with the basil and sun-dried tomatoes. Season with salt. Then boil for 5 minutes over a high flame.
- Take the saucepan off the heat, then remove the bay leaves and any twigs of thyme that remain. Using a stick blender (or similar) puree the soup until you get a nice smooth consistency.
- Optionally, pass the soup through a fine sieve and discard the tomato seeds and skins that you collect.
- Adjust the seasoning. Serve warm and not too hot.
- 1. By far the most important factor in determining the quality of the dish is simply the flavour and sweetness of the tomatoes themselves. I’ve used various different kinds of tomato to make this soup and I’ve come to the conclusion that the variety is far less important than how ripe and sweet they are. Just try to use the tastiest tomatoes you can get hold of.
- 2. I bake the tomatoes in a hot oven. The ingredients on top tend to get burnt if left for too long (especially the onions) so I give the trays a quick stir every ten minutes or so.
- 3. It’s worth passing the soup through a fine sieve after blending. Blenders don’t tend to grind down tomato seeds or skins so your soup won’t be silky smooth without sieving. But if you prefer a more rustic consistency feel free to skip this step.
- How to serve this soup:
- This soup is best enjoyed served warm (and not too hot), in a large bowl, garnished with a few fresh basil leaves and a swirl of olive oil. I often float a small bunch of oven-roasted cherry vine tomatoes in each bowl too.
- On the side I serve a generous bowl full of fresh crusty baguette hunks. I dice one end of the baguette and shallow fry in a little olive oil, to make croutons that I love to sprinkle into my soup.