Tomato Soup was always a favourite when I was a kid. Condensed soup in a tin, add some milk, served with white bread with lashings of butter. Yummy. Not sure that I would like to go back there and challenge what I remember being a flavour sensation and a great comfort food. We got back from a cool climate holiday and found two things. Firstly that some of the cool weather had followed us home. And secondly that T-bone had not eaten any of the fruit and veg left for him in the refrigerator while we were away. I had bought a load of tomatoes and made Tomato Jam before I left, but had at least a kilo left over. Pasta Sauce? No, Soup. Roasted Tomato Soup at that.
Let me be clear. This may not be as easy as opening a tin and adding an extra tin of water/milk, but it is worth the time that you put in. Roasting brings a natural sweetness to the tomatoes, the onions, basil and garlic add some bite, and the potatoes add a thick “creaminess” without needing the cream. Simple flavours. Simply good.
Start with a kilo of tomatoes. I used a combination of the “Odd Bunch” tomatoes that I had in the fridge (making this a bargain soup) and some sweet cherry tomatoes.
Toss the tomatoes in some olive oil, add in the garlic cloves and season with salt and pepper. Pop into a moderate oven for 40 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly. I removed the skins from the larger tomatoes – it will give you a smoother soup. If you are pressed for time you can skip this step.
Heat some oil in a pan and fry the onion for a couple of minutes . Add diced potato and cook until beginning to caramelise. Add tomato paste and cook until it smells “tomatoey”.
The paste boosts the tomato flavour and the red colour, but again, if you want a “purer” soup just leave it out. The potatoes add a thickness to the soup that I think it needs in Winter. If I was making this soup in Spring I might try without the potato for a lighter meal or starter.
Add 2 cups of the stock to the pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are very soft. (NB – I used chicken stock because that is what I had, but vegetable stock would make this a vego option)
Remove from heat. Blend tomatoes and potato mixture with basil leaves. Add in the rest of the stock to reach your desired consistency.
Adding cream is optional. My hand hovered over the cream, and I had a friend’s voice in my head telling me about her poor partner who had had tomato soup made on just water as a child, so I compromised with a swirl of cream just before serving. How much you add will be up to you (and your waistline!) and the acidity of the tomatoes – just a dash of cream balances the soup beautifully.
Serve with some crusty bread, toast or next time I am hankering for some melted cheese on a baguette to dip in – yum!
- 1 kg tomatoes, quartered
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tbs olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 onion, diced finely
- 200g (or 2 small) potatoes, peeled and diced finely
- ½ tbs olive oil, extra, for frying
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- 4 cups of stock, chicken or vegetable
- ⅓ cup basil leaves
- ¼ - ½ cup cream (optional)
- Quarter tomatoes, toss with oil, season well with salt and pepper and roast along with the whole garlic cloves in a moderate oven for 40 minutes. Cool, then remove skins from garlic and tomatoes
- Heat a pan, add the extra oil and fry onion for a couple of minutes. Ad potato and cook, stirring, until it begins to caramelise. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute or until your kitchen smells full of tomato-y goodness. add in 2 cups of the stock and cover. Simmer for 15 - 20 minutes until the potatoes are very soft. Remove from heat.
- Blend tomato, potato and basil in batches with the extra stock. Pour into a saucepan and reheat to serve.
- Serve with cream swirled as decoration or add just before serving