Cream of tomato soup

In this extra-special version of an old standard, the tomato is the star. Here we have tomatoes in all variations: fresh, sun-dried, and roasted. Inspired by tomato-lovers, this velvety smooth soup takes the humble tomato to a dimension where it rightfully belongs.

Serves 4-6

Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 40 minutes

372 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped

2 celery ribs, finely chopped 2 carrots, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 12 plum tomatoes, about 21/ilb (1kg), quartered, roasted (p156), and coarsely chopped, plus 8 extra 1y4-1V2lb (600-720g), skinned and finely chopped 6 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped 4 cups hot vegetable stock 2-3 tbsp heavy cream sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until very soft but not browned. Add the celery and carrots and continue cooking gently for

10 minutes longer. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2 Mix together the roasted plum tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh tomatoes. Turn into the pan with any juices and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes to blend the flavors. If the sauce looks too thick or starts sticking to the bottom of the pan, add a little of the hot vegetable stock. Pour in the remaining vegetable stock and let the soup simmer for 15-20 minutes.

3 Blend the soup into a smooth purée using a food processor or hand-held blender. Pass through a sieve or food mill placed over a clean pan. Add the cream, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you are happy with the taste and texture. Season with salt and pepper. Reheat very gently, if needed, and serve.

Variation For a peasant-style soup, don't pass the soup through a sieve or food mill. Simply stir in a little cream, and season to taste.

Works well with

Plum (pp64-73) Beefsteak (pp52-63) Standard globe (pp22-35)

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