When I told him I’m writing a post on tomato soup, the Husband pointed out I once said – in front of an audience to make matters worse – that I quote despise unquote said meal. In so many words, yes. Anything I said about tomato soup, I meant and I stand by.
Mind you, the conversation was about the Hungarian variety and I’m sorry to say this, but it’s really, truly appalling. Sweet (like, really sweet), thickened with plain flour and often further aggravated with overcooked alphabet pasta. A fond school cafeteria memory for some, a dreadful flashback for me. I never made it, and my mother gave up on it long ago as well.
Then I’ve learnt about this rustic, Italian approach and I was immediately smitten. This soup is not in heavy rotation at my house, merely because I’m only willing to make it with in-season, sun-ripened produce, nothing less: heirloom tomatoes, yellow onions and garlic from my parents’ garden. A celebration of the wonderful flavors of summer.
(I understand not everyone’s as lucky as I am to have a personal farmers’ market in the form of a childhood home. Your next best option is buying fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables directly from the source.)
Roasting makes all the difference in this soup, so do not omit this step! Going the little extra really isn’t any trouble, it’s just time the tomatoes spend on a sheet pan in the oven while you carry on with whatever household chore you’re choosing to entertain yourself with. The added flavor is just incomparable! Close your eyes and imagine your ingredients going soft, caramelized and sweetened naturally with their own juices… that’s right!
After they come out the oven, you’re just minutes away from the best tomato soup of your life. Everything goes into a pot to simmer some more, then in the blender to be pureed to smooth greatness. (It can be blitzed with a stick blender instead, no worries.)
On a sidenote, let me tell you a story about me and blenders: after two broken cheap-ass units (one of which flooded my kitchen with raspberries and plastic shrapnel at stupid o’ clock in the morning while prepping a post-workout smoothie), I finally invested in a high-power one.
Should’ve done it way earlier – my Philips ProBlend 6 is a workhorse. So far it tackled everything I’ve thrown in the durable glass jar: hot, cold, raw, cooked, frozen, fruits, vegetables, even ice. I use it to make smoothies, soups, purees, frozen drinks, even dutch babies. It’s multi-speed function will blend, crush or cut to the consistency you want. It has an easy clean option, and the parts are machine washable too, bless their little souls.
Back to the soup, it’s best served warm, garnished with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of cream, scattered with more basil. Some crunchy croutons, or a cheesy-garlicky toast might be in order too.
Go dip in!
Roasted Heirloom Tomato Soup
A hearty, creamy soup bursting with the best of summer’s flavors. Serves 6.
1 kg (2 lbs) sun-ripened tomatoes
2 medium yellow onions
1 head of garlic
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
salt, black pepper
handful of fresh basil, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 l (1 quart) chicken or vegetable stock
200 ml (3/4 cup) cooking cream
1 tbsp sugar, if needed
- Preheat oven to 230°C/450°F
- Wash and cut tomatoes in half, peel and quarter onions. Peel most of the paper off the garlic, trim the top off the head to expose tops of cloves.
- Spread tomatoes, onions and garlic onto a baking tray in 1 layer, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Roast for 30-40 min until caramelized, remove from oven.
- Press on the bottom of the garlic cloves to push them out of the paper (careful, hot!). Including the liquid in the tray, transfer vegetables to a pot.
- Add stock and bay leaves. Simmer for 15 min or until liquid has reduced by a third, discard bay leaves.
- Transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour back to pot, add cream and basil, bring to a boil. Taste to adjust flavors (if tomatoes were too acidic, add a tbsp of sugar). Turn heat off.
- Serve warm. Enjoy!
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