I’m definitely a summer person, preferring the long, hot, sunny days enjoying ice cream on the beach or watching my little one playing at the water’s edge learning to boogie board. BBQ on the deck as the sun goes down is a great family time too, smelling the meat sizzling away, chatting with friends over a tasty glass of something…but as summer is still many months away, I am settling for the joy of comfort food.
Occasionally at this time of year, I come across bags of overripe tomatoes at the local green grocer or supermarket, going for a song, obviously imported from somewhere but as they aren’t being bought up for use in salads, I suppose they stay on the shelf longer than normal. I LOVE these discoveries as they always end up in the oven with olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar before being pulsed and sieved and made into a deliciously rich and aromatic tomato soup. On this particular day, I decided a little fried bacon would add the meaty flavour I was after and this was the end result – one of my favourites and now in my little box of “tried and tested, definitely to be made again” recipes. This looks like a long list of ingredients, but it’s probably all in your very well stocked pantry anyway ;).
1kg vine tomatoes
2 tbsp each: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar
a good sprinkling of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a healthy dollop of butter
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1tsp fresh thyme leaves (fresh basil works a treat if you don’t have thyme)
bacon, chopped (up to you how much you want to add, I use a whole pack for my family)
400 g can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
fresh pouring cream
- Preheat your oven to 190°C. Place tomatoes in a shallow roasting dish and drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, followed by the brown sugar. Add whole garlic cloves (no need to peel them, you get to squeeze out the squishy delicious contents later!)
- Roast tomatoes for 15 – 20 minutes until the skins burst and the juices are caramelising.
- In the mean time, heat the butter and sauté the chopped bacon until cooked. Set some aside for garnish.
- Add more butter if necessary, along with the onion, garlic (if you prefer to peel, chop and fry it) and thyme (or basil) over a low heat for a few minutes until softened but not brown (brown garlic and onion is bitter and this dish needs the natural sweetness obtained by gently coaxing it out of these lovely ingredients).
- Remove the tomatoes from the oven. Carefully pour off the juice, setting it aside. Remove the cores from the tomatoes and roughly chop/mash the flesh.
- Add canned tomatoes, roasted chopped tomatoes, reserved caramelised juices, tomato paste and squished garlic flesh (please don’t add the skin!) to the onion mixture and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Purée the mixture and sieve to remove skin, pips and lumps.
- Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Serve soup by sprinkling the remaining bacon bits, a swirl of cream and chopped chives over the top.
We love dunking huge chunks of country style freshly home baked bread or grilled cheese toast into this soup – you will want to lick the bowl clean. Enjoy!