My husband makes an amazingly rich and flavourful tomato soup with just a handful of ingredients. This is an extremely well-balanced and customisable dish. Making it is a simple exercise in the art of balancing timing, flavour and texture.
The first part of the recipe is all about building a solid body of flavour, and the second half is where you can customise it exactly how you like it. You can make it richer or lighter, thicker or thinner, tarter or sweeter. You can also omit certain things to make it purely vegetarian, or you can add in chicken stock or fish sauce to give it a meatier body.
And the best thing about this soup is that it is effectively a base sauce for chilli mussels.
Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup
- 1 kg tomatoes Ideally roma, but any tomato will do.
- 1-2 heads garlic This really depends on your tolerance for garlic, but the garlic is key to the soup's richness.
- 1 onion Use a large brown onion.
- 2 cans peeled or diced tomatoes This adds tartness and "tomato-ness" to the dish.
- 1 handful fresh basil Split this into two piles. One pile + stems from the second pile to go into the soup, one to chop (leaves only) and use as garnish.
- olive oil Just enough to cover the tomatoes and onions.
- salt To taste.
- Black pepper To taste.
- 1 can Water Use the can from the peeled tomatoes to measure the water.
Finishing ingredients (Only use what's required, depending on the taste of the soup near the end)
- Water Add if the soup is too thick.
- Fish sauce Add if you need to add a more savoury body to the soup (avoid if keeping the soup vegetarian).
- Tomato paste Add if the soup requires a more tomato-ey flavour and add umami
- Chicken stock Add if the soup requires more body (avoid if keeping the soup vegetarian).
- Cherry tomatoes Add if some tartness is needed
- Balsamic vinegar Add if some tartness is needed
- Get all your ingredients ready.
- Cut tops off garlic(s), drizzle with olive oil, and wrap in foil.
- Halve tomatoes and place cut side down in a baking dish - preferably ceramic dish as acidity from tomatoes may slightly damage metal.
- Quarter or halve onions and place in baking dish.
- Lightly salt and pepper, then drizzle olive oil over tomatoes and onion, then place tomatoes, onion, and garlic(s) into oven for about 45 minutes.
- Remove from oven when tomato skins and/or onions start to crisp up and turn brown. We're aiming for light browning, not charring. The charring will introduce unwanted bitterness to the soup.
Blitzing the ingredients
- Transfer contents of baking dish into a large pot.
- Squeeze roast garlic into pot, ensuring to avoid any very brown bits as these will add bitterness.
- Add about 2 cans of peeled tomatoes and about 1 can worth of water and bring to gentle simmer. (You can use the water to clean out the can prior to recyling.)
- Add half the basil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Include basil stems for the flavour if they're not too woody.
- Remove from heat and blend using stick blender - be very careful to go slow with the blender as the mixture will likely splutter.
Adjust for seasoning - this is where you get it to taste exactly how you want it
- Add fish sauce if salt and umami are needed.
- Add tomato paste to bring out more tomato flavour and add umami.
- Add water if soup is too thick.
- Add chicken stock if body is required.
- Add cherry tomatoes or a tiny amount of balsamic vinegar if some tartness is needed.
And when you get it just the way you want it...
- Garnish with the remaining chopped basil.
- Serve warm with crusty bread (or garlic bread for more vampire-repelling goodness).