Roasted Tomato & Basil Soup

I made it through my first full month at my first job as a doctor. It wasn’t that bad actually! Dare I say it, I’ve even enjoyed parts of it! However, it is tiring trying to find some sort of routine to my daily life with all the shifts and inevitable “just one more job” late finishes. It’s not a surprise to me to be finding cooking a chore but it is disheartening when I really do live to cook and feed folk, so I’m finding I’m constantly on the look out for quick to make but interesting recipes that require only minutes of my attention at any one time during cooking. Gone are the days of cooking a curry feast of multiple dishes every night after work or making elaborate desserts, well for the time being at least! Where else am I to satisfy my need to feed than at the bottom of a steaming hot bowl of homemade roasted tomato and basil soup that takes maybe less than ten minutes of hands on prep?

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Inspired by these fire engine red, shiny, fragrant, silky smooth vine ripened tomatoes I had ordered in our weekly shop, I decided I should utilise a book I’ve had on my shelves, read but unused as yet. That book was Jamie’s Great Britain. I’d received it free with a rather spur of the moment online shopping spree on The Book People – I warn you foodie folks, don’t “just have a nose” with your credit card by your side lol! On a train trip to the fantastic vegetarian restaurant Green’s, I read this whole book cover to cover probably much to the amusement of fellow travellers who were equally if less greedily engrossed in their daily newspapers or trashy girl’s magazine. What can I say – I’m a foodie through and through! Amongst a couple of tempting recipes was one for tomato soup I ear marked to try ASAP, so I could stock pile some in the freezer in individual portions to take to work for lunch.

However, when I came to make the soup, I re-read the recipe and I wasn’t convinced it was the best way to get out the most from these glorious toms. He blitzed all the raw ingredients together before cooking. Quick, yes. Packed full of flavour? I was concerned. So I went about creating my own version which I present here to you today.

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For one thing, Jamie didn’t use a stock at all in his recipe, which on one hand is good as even the best quality stock powders can give a delicate soup a very generic “savoury” flavour and I didn’t fancy making one from fresh this time. So I devised my own method. I roasted chopped onion, carrot, celery and whole garlic cloves in just a drizzle olive oil then when just softened, I tucked the toms in on top of these, the basic units of “savoury”. Back in the oven until the taut skins wrinkled and popped, the once firm flesh of the tomato sagging beneath, leaching out a crystal clear consommé style liquid into the casserole dish and roasted stock veg platform on which they sat. Squeezing out the caramelly soft garlic from their papery white jackets and tearing over fresh basil leaves was all that remained to be done, apart from a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. An all-in-one stock/soup creation, if you will!

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Whilst it took quite some time for the tomatoes to roast fully, it took seconds to blitz up into a smooth purée. A swirl of single cream enriched the dish. As one whom is known within her foodie community to be a “recipe fiddler” it’s shocking that I managed to leave it at that! However, welcome additions according to your own tastes might be adding a drizzle of quality balsamic vinegar or syrup, other herbs instead of the basil (rosemary would be so good), chilli would be just perfect for when the weather turns cold and the nights draw in.

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Now one thing I did differently after having the first steaming bowlful was to sieve the soup to remove the seeds and teeny weeny pieces of tomato skin. If you don’t mind them, feel free to omit this step but I suspect most will prefer a smoother, slightly thicker but as smooth as passata style soup. And what a wonderful taste it was. As one whom has never, ever had a can of Heinz tomato soup in her life, I cannot compare this to it but I can describe it too you as the most concentrated tomato taste I’ve ever had. The slow roasting of the toms and in fact all the other ingredients was key to developing the flavour which I kept clean by only adding in the small amount of boisterous basil you see here. Also, I did not add any water but only used the liquor from the toms themselves to help purée the soup. Bread is mandatory for soup in my life and here’s where I followed Jamie’s advice more closely – I rubbed toasted slices of a gutsy artisan beer bread with garlic oil then sprinkled with Parmesan and Worcestershire sauce before melting under the grill. Leftovers were eaten with leftover, partly baked taboons a Middle Eastern flatbread.

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So if you’re looking for a one pot, healthy and clean flavoured quick to prepare meal, look no further. Let’s take comfort after work together, in one of life’s most primal pleasures – rich, silky, hot soup. Don’t forget the hunk of bread!

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Roasted Tomato & Basil Soup
Servings: 4
Author: Just Jo
Ingredients
  • 750 g vine ripened tomatoes
  • 3 small carrots
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • Small bunch basil 15g approx
  • 2-4 tbsp single cream
  • Salt and black pepper
Instructions
  1. Peel your carrots, top and tail them.
  2. Chop the carrots and celery into equal sized pieces about 3-4 inches long then toss into a large casserole with the whole garlic cloves and 1-2 tbsp olive oil (just enough to slick the veg well with oil).
  3. Make sure your casserole is oven proof and large enough to accommodate the tomatoes, with room to blend them later.
  4. Pop in a pre heated oven at 200˚C and cook for about 20 mins until they are just starting to soften.
  5. Check they aren't sticking then nestle your tomatoes, whole, on top of them.
  6. Return for the oven and cook until the tomatoes start to sag - this took about an hour for me but will depend on which type of toms you use as well as the heat from your oven (the large pot means it has to sit lower in the oven).
  7. You could leave them several hours on a much lower heat, checking occasionally if that suits you better.
  8. When cooked, squeeze the garlic cloves out, tear over the basil and season well.
  9. Using a stick blending, purée well.
  10. (You can do it in batches in a food processor but it is the messier option!).
  11. Sieve the soup into a large bowl to remove the tomato seeds and skins - if needed, reheat before serving.
  12. Add cream to taste, adjust the seasoning.
  13. Serve with bread of your choice to dunk.

15 Comments

  1. The Patterned Plate 06/09/2012 at 17:27 - Reply

    I like the sound of your version much better! I think if you had perfect, Italian sun ripened tomatoes, then just blitzing that would give a very fresh flavoured, light soup too, for a hot day. But this I really like the sound of, particularly with the roasted garlic. I could eat that like sweeties! Gorgeous colours..must make this!

    • Jo Blogs 06/09/2012 at 17:32 - Reply

      Yes, you’d need perfectly ripe if not slightly over ripe toms to do it raw wouldn’t you babes? But chilled it would be a very fresh summer soup. Sometimes super simple is best and the key for me, with this version, is the slow roast of all ingredients – intensifies the flavours like no ones business!

  2. emmathebakewelltart 06/09/2012 at 17:29 - Reply

    So simple yet satisfying I can’t wait for the weather to turn a tad colder to try this soup out. X

    • Jo Blogs 06/09/2012 at 17:34 - Reply

      I made this not last weekend but the one before when it rained all day and was really dark very early. Hence the lighting on the photos! But it was perfect weather for this. Soup is great to fill me up for lunch though, if I can bare to restrain myself with the bread!

  3. Joost Poort 06/09/2012 at 17:31 - Reply

    Jo, this looks delicious! We have friends over for dinner this Saturday and I was going to do roast pepper soup but I might just make this one instead.

    • Jo Blogs 06/09/2012 at 17:35 - Reply

      Oh but I love roast pepper soup – Hungry Hubby makes the best yellow pepper soup ever! But do try this Joost – low and slow would be wonderful if you have the time to let the toms cook away 🙂

  4. Allison 06/09/2012 at 17:55 - Reply

    Oh man, this soup sounds good, but also that photo of the roasted tomatoes and fresh basil leaves, right before you used the immersion blender? I could eat THAT with a spoon : )

    • Jo Blogs 06/09/2012 at 18:07 - Reply

      Lolol! Brilliant! I think that’s my job done Alison if you could eat this before it’s even finished! 😀

  5. Allison 06/09/2012 at 18:12 - Reply

    🙂 Agreed! Though in fairness, I also would have been happy to eat the tomatoes right at the beginning (before it was even started!), but that intermediate step looks even more mouthwatering.

    (It also irrationally makes me want to buy a Dutch Oven even more, even though I know that stuff wouldn’t come inside it.)

    • Jo Blogs 06/09/2012 at 20:51 - Reply

      Yeah, the tomatoes were great to begin with – I only buy the cheap sour sort for curries when the acidic element is much wanted. This Dutch oven of mine is one of my kitchen pride and joys, a gift from Hungry Hubby. It’s so useful, I wouldn’t want to be without her! (Her name is Tassie the Turquoise Casserole lol!) 😀

  6. frugalfeeding 06/09/2012 at 23:07 - Reply

    Hello, Jo! Congrats on the first month – very well done indeed! I’m still trying to find my way into some sort of career! This soup looks absolutely scrumptious.

    • Jo Blogs 07/09/2012 at 16:56 - Reply

      Take your time matie – the real world sucks! Ok, the pay cheque helps but still, I’d not be British if I didn’t moan ;0)

  7. Meenakshi 07/09/2012 at 04:56 - Reply

    Congrats on completing one month as doctor! I really admire you for balancing work and blogging- especially because doctors have such crazy schedules and little me-time (my aunt is a doctor; her only me-time is yoga.) And I like your version better! Roasting the ingredients sounds delicious. Those toms are really gorgeous- luscious even! And cream must be added to any tomato soup- there is no other way!!

    • Jo Blogs 07/09/2012 at 17:02 - Reply

      Thanks Meena it is tough but I’m hoping things will get easier as I get used to it. Dinners like this help!

  8. Allison 07/09/2012 at 05:09 - Reply

    Haha, I love that you have a name for your Dutch oven! I will make sure to follow suit if I ever get one.

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