Tomato Soup Recipe = Summer Flavours – A Fresh Soup Recipe with Roasted Garlic and Basil – 5:2 Diet Recipes:
Tomato Soup with Roasted Garlic and Fresh Basil isn’t a recipe I make through the year. To make a fresh tomato soup involves a lot of almost over-ripe tomatoes and plenty of fresh basil. And in the UK both fresh ripe tomatoes and good quality basil can be in really short supply! Of course I do make a spicy tomato soup in winter with canned tomatoes, chilli or paprika and lentils for body. Either way is delicious and either way of making tomato soup is very good lunch if, like me, you are following the 5:2 diet and have a fast day, or if you simply want a low calorie dish (between 70 and 100 calories a bowl depending on your garnish!). Home made soup using tinned tomatoes is a store cupboard staple, delicious and very quick to make. But, in the summer and early autumn, when there’s a glut of tomatoes, for me at least, this is the perfect soup to make. I was lucky enough to go to the recent Innocent Inspires lecture on ‘taste’ and fascinated to hear the closing speaker Ollie Dabbous echoing the words of the opening speaker, Florence Knight. They are both well known chefs, although they operate in rather different sectors. And both were enthusing about straight forward dishes using ingredients that are in season. Ollie went on to say that most of his dishes have a maximum of four main components, and that his key to success is keeping things very simple and un-cheffy. Well, I do that because I don’t have a cheffy skill set! And Tomato Soup must be one of the least cheffy dishes I’ve written about! But, there are some easy tricks to bringing out all the flavour.
For me, the best fresh tomato soup is made with home grown tomatoes, ones that you’ve just picked yourself and that come into the house warm from the sun. They should be over ripe, so that they almost fall off the vine. I’m not going to pretend that these are mine, my balcony tomatoes are just in flower! They actually came from the Market, where I can buy around a kilo and a half of very ripe tomatoes for a pound. What is important is to make your soup with tomatoes that have never been near a fridge – for some reason it seems to kill the flavour!
The basil really does need to be fresh and if possible to be home grown for fresh tomato soup. I’m quite proud that I grow my basil from seed on the windowsill. It tastes completely different to the little pots that you can buy in the supermarket that are ‘fresh’ but forced! I have a heated propagator so that I can start early – and I try my best to have fresh basil from around June to late October. This year, I haven’t done so well, partly because our summer started late but also because I was busy travelling. But I now have three pots growing – the one that is ready to cut, the one that is a week or so away from cutting and the ‘baby’ which is just at seedling stage. Basil and tomato is a classic flavour combination that I love – especially with the addition of a mild garlic. For this soup I like to roast my garlic slowly and unpeeled, so it doesn’t dry out and I have a sweet garlic paste to add in. And, because our tomatoes are never quite as good as those you can get in warmer climates, I roast my tomatoes. Using the whole tomato including skin and pips ensures the deepest umami flavour. And so far, my fresh tomato soup has never needed sugar, although I know some people who swear by adding in a teaspoon or so at the end of cooking. I do use shallots rather than onion, which have a slightly higher natural sugar content so that may be part of the reason. And, I use a mirepoix of celery and carrot too as the base for the recipe, both of which have quite a lot of natural sweetness.
- 1 kg Ripe Tomatoes I used a mixture of plum tomatoes, vine tomatoes and cherry tomatoes
- 1 bulb Garlic
- 1 stick Celery
- 1 Small Carrot
- 2 Banana Shallots
- 1/2 - 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar NB if your vinegar is 'strong' reduce the amount.
- 1 handful Basil Stems chopped, leaves retained for garnish
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- 500 ml Stock Marigold works well, as does fresh chicken stock
Cut the tomatoes in half lengthway and place them cut side up on a baking tray. Season well with salt and pepper and drizzle a little of the olive oil over them retaining about a teaspoon. Cut the head off the garlic bulb and wrap the whole thing in tinfoil
Place them and the garlic bulb in a preheated oven at 190c for around an hour till the tomatoes are soft and the edges are starting to char
Finely dice the celery, carrot and shallot and place in a large stockpot with the remainder of the oil. Cook for 8-10 minutes over a gentle heat till the mix starts to soften. Put to one side until the tomatoes are ready
Add the tomatoes and all the juices to the mixed vegetables. Using a fork, squeeze out all the softened garlic into a bowl and discard the skin and root. Add the garlic paste to the tomato mixture. Add in the basil stems
Add the stock and bring to the boil. Cook for around 20 minutes before blending with a stick blender. Check the seasoning and add half the balsamic before checking again. If you like, add a teaspoon or so of sugar (I don't usually find I need to do so) and add the rest of the balsamic and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot or cold garnished with fresh basil leaves and your choice of croutons, creme fraiche, greek yoghurt or crispy garlic.
Of course, everyone has their own recipe for fresh tomato soup. My dad used to make our soups – and I seem to remember he added a lot of Lea and Perrins to his version of tomato soup and also wrecked all of the sieves by trying to remove the seeds. If you don’t particularly like garlic and basil or just want some alternatives Felicity Cloake has reviewed pretty well every version of fresh tomato soup out there! This is a dish you should make your own. And remember to freeze a little – so you can have a taste of summer when the weather has turned cold and bleak.
For those wanting to use Tomato Soup as a 5:2 Diet Fast Day recipe or as part of a calorie controlled diet, with a teaspoon of half fat creme fraiche the calorie count is a respectable 79 per bowl.