Thursday, May 3, 2012

my home-made tomato soup recipe


Last night I made my first tomato soup. My fiance is sick with a sore throat, and there's nothing like vitamin-filled, delicious warm soup to make you feel better... well for me at least... I also LOVE tomatoes, but do know that they can be tricky to work with because of the acidity and much of the flavour depends on the type and quality of tomatoes you can find.
I started researching tomato soup recipes and found that my dear friend behind the awesome foodie blog, The Food Fox, made one the other day. She was lucky enough to have found an awesome organic farmer and picked her own tomatoes. Check out her recipe at http://thefoodfox.com/2012/04/20/roasted-organic-tomato-soup/.
As I slave all day in an office space – bearing in mind I love my job – and only have a short window period in which to do grocery shopping after work and prepare supper so that we can eat at a reasonable hour, I realised I'd have to give my shop-bought roma tomatoes some help.
I work with the daughter of the awesome chef behind African Relish cooking school (http://africanrelish.com) in the Karoo, Jeremy Freemantle and so she passed on his tomato soup recipe to me to have a look at for added inspiration.
In the end I decided to go with my gut instinct and used The Food Fox recipe as a base, but changed a number of things up, starting off by actually blanching and peeling the tomatoes, and adding other ingredients along the way :-)

Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:
  • 16 ripe medium-sized roma tomatoes
  • 2 red onions
  • 6 baby carrots (I prefer baby carrots as they have a sweeter taste)
  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 red chilli (I grow my own at home)
  • Olive oil
  • Large stem of thyme (or lemon thyme)
  • 2 tins of Italian whole peeled tomatoes
  • 4 to 5 pepperdews
  • 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 4 to 5 bay leaves
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • Grated lemon rind
Garnish (optional):
  • Goat's milk chevin
  • fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • lemon zest
  • olive oil
Directions:

Blanching and peeling:
Cut a cross in the slit of the tomatoes. Put all the tomatoes in a bowl. Pour boiling water over until covered and let stand for a few minutes. The skin will naturally start pulling away. Drain and pour cold water over. After a couple minutes, the skins should peel off very easily. Set aside
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

In a food processor, place the onions, carrots, garlic and chilli. Blend until finely chopped. Add olive oil to a large pot on medium to high heat, add the onion, carrots, garlic and chilli mixture and cook for a few minutes until soft (not too brown). Add the large stick of thyme, tinned whole Italian tomatoes, peeled roma tomatoes, pepperdews and stir. Add in the sugar, red wine vinegar and tomato paste (taste in between until you think the flavour is balanced). Add the bay leaves and a good grinding of both salt and pepper. Give it all a good stir.

Get a large roasting pan and pour all the ingredients from the pot into the roasting pan. Add a pinch of lemon zest and place in the oven for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Half way through, cut the whole roma tomatoes in half while in the dish (they will be getting fairly soft now).

Remove the roasted tomato dish from the oven and stir until slightly cooled, making sure you take out the thyme stick and bay leaves. 
Blend in three parts until desired consistency. Garnish and serve with 100% rye :-)

Additional notes: 

My fiance said that perhaps adding a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce would have brought out more flavours, and even suggested garnishing with coriander as an alternative to basil etc. It's really up to you.
I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially with the addition of the goat's milk chevin, gently stirred in afterwards. Or if you're more traditional use cream.
Bon appetite!

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