Comfort me with soup
COMFORT food is what we all crave in the colder months. Last week’s chicken pot pie recipe fits that description to a tee; I served mine on what I call “Guinea Pig Saturday” to a couple of neighbours (the night when I traditionally test my new recipes) along with mashed potatoes and creamed home-grown silverbeet.
Soups are another winter pleaser. I love tomato soup, but despite the hype, winter hothouse tomatoes just don’t have the depth of flavour required to produce a pleasing result at this time of year. And who wants to eat hot soup in summer?
My solution is to use good-quality Italian canned tomatoes. They are a staple ingredient in my pantry; heated through with basil and pine nuts, they make a great emergency pasta sauce and they are an essential addition to a bolognese or osso buco.
To intensify the flavour, I oven roast the drained tomatoes with some vegetables, keeping the juice to add back in.
Leave out the cream to make this soup as a vegan recipe.
Winter tomato soup
INGREDIENTS: ◗ 2 small spanish onions, peeled and cut into wedges ◗ 2 cloves garlic, peeled ◗ 1 carrot, peeled and sliced ◗ 1 stalk celery, cut into pieces ◗ 2 tbs olive oil ◗ 2 x 400g cans Italian peeled tomatoes in juice ◗ 1 tsp sugar ◗ 2 tsp chopped fresh basil, or 1 tsp dried basil ◗ salt and black pepper, to taste ◗ 1⁄ cup pure cream (optional) 4
METHOD: Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place onions, garlic cloves, carrot and celery on the paper and drizzle with half the oil. Drain the tomatoes, reserving the juice. Add tomatoes to the baking tray, drizzle with remaining oil and sprinkle with sugar. Roast vegetables at 200°C for 40-50 minutes, turning once. If anything is browning too quickly move to a cooler part of the tray. Transfer vegetables to a blender or food processor, along with the reserved juice and basil. Blend until smooth and season to taste. Transfer to a saucepan and stir in cream, if using. Reheat but don’t allow to boil. Serve with crusty bread.