Dinner

Oven roasted tomato soup

That punnet of tomatoes has been eyeing me up for a long time now. I hold my hands up. Guilty as charged. I stock pile tomatoes and lemons like they are going out of fashion. If neither are in my fridge I get angsty and somethings just not right. In my eyes lemons can rescue any dish from the brink of disaster. The sad truth is that tomatoes only seem to make their way into my salads and that’s where there average use ends. Bad Rachel! So today I turned them into the kind of soup that requires no thought. No stirring, no pot watching, no thinking. Easy. Some days call for therapeutic chopping and stirring. Some days call for throwing things in the oven and enjoying the guilt free rewards that come out.

This is no ordinary tomato soup. Roasting the tomatoes brings a depth of flavor which marries perfectly with the slightly sweet hint of caramelised onions. Deseeded red chilli is our heat whilst aromatic rosemary brings a punch strong enough to rival the roasted tomatoes.

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This soup is built upon the simplest of ingredients and ones I always have in the kitchen. As simple as the ingredients are so is the preparation – my kinda week day soup.

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Tomatoes get thrown in whole, along with some smashed cloves of garlic. We nip our rosemary into smaller sprigs and throw them in along side the halved deseeded chilli. See I’m true to my word – this recipe couldn’t be simpler. The whole let gets coated in fruity olive oil and plenty of freshly cracked salt and pepper. Give the lot a shimmy and we are ready for the oven!

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Whilst our tray of easy-peasy goodness roasts away its the turn of our caramelised onions. Red onion is halved and then sliced into thin crescent moons. Onions meet balsamic and a smidge of salt then we let them do their own thing on a low heat in a pan. A little stir every now and again doesn’t hurt. This is the point where I threw in a (good) splash of white wine. Why? Because I’m a grown up now and if I have to do scary things like tax and pensions then I can throw wine in my onions ok? So now you’ve all throwing wine in your onions in the comfortable knowledge its totally justifiable we let them sweat a little longer. A crisp white wine balances out the sweetness that develops in the onions but doesn’t deter form it. Just another layer of flavor!

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Once tomatoes are done and onions have sweated we throw the lot in a blender and pulse to the desired consistency. At this point you can throw in a handful of fresh basil if you want, or maybe some chives and a dash of cream. It’s a base for you to tweak as your soupy needs see fit.

This soup is delicious served on its own or a long side a few slices of rustic bread. If you want to up the ante and enjoy it along side these feta and chive scones I salute you. Either way this soup is quick, fuss free yet delicious in its simplicity.

Serves 2. Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals

Ingredients

500 grams baby or plum tomatoes

2 springs fresh rosemary, cut into thirds

4 garlic cloves, smashed

1 red chilli, halved and deseeded (depending on how spicy you like it)

Good lug of olive oil

Freshly cracked sea salt and black pepper

1 red onion, halved and finely sliced

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Splash of white wine (optional)

Small bunch fresh basil

Small scoop of creme fraiche (optional)

Steps

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220C (400F).
  2. Put tomatoes, the smashed garlic cloves, and the halved red chilli in an over proof dish. Pour over a good glug of olive oil (2-3 tablespoons) and plenty of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper and toss to coat all the tomatoes. Place in the oven to roast for 20-30 minutes depending on how charred you want your tomatoes.
  3. Whilst the tomatoes are cooking add the finely sliced red onion to a sauce pan and place over a medium/low heat. Add a slight pinch of salt, this will help them caramelise, and the balsamic vinegar. Gently sweat the onions for 5-10 minutes. Add the white wine, if using, at this point and sweat for a further 5-10 minutes until sticky and reduced.
  4. Place the entire content of the roasted tomato pan into a blender and add the reduced red onion. Throw in a small bunch of basil, stalks and all, and blitz to desired consistency.
  5. Depending on how hot you want your soup either enjoy straight away or reheat over a gentle heat till hot. Enjoy with a dollop of creme fraiche swirled through.
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