Effort: There’s a bit of chopping involved, so its a leeetle schleppy but worth it
Expense: Won’t break the bank
Kitchen fire potential: There’ll be a bit of heat from the curry but no fire danger
Serves: 6 – 8
Although in Durban winter hasn’t bothered to stop by yet (it’s having too much fun splashing in puddles in Cape Town), it’s certainly made a dramatic entrance in other areas of the country and settled in quite comfortably everywhere else. So, it is technically soup season. And I know there are a million tomato soup recipes out there, but my friends and family love this one enough to request it all year round so I think it’s worthy enough to inflict it upon the interwebz. This recipe is a bit schleppy because it uses only fresh tomatoes, so it means a lot of chopping but I think it’s worth it. Working with a pile of these succulent vermillion spheres is a visual delight, and it’s always fun to boast that no canned tomatoes were involved. So where it loses on effort, it wins on pretension 😉
One of the most important things about this recipe is that tomatoes have to be VERY ripe. Ripe to the point of bruising, if possible. Firm tomatoes make the soup a bit tangy from the acidity, so the riper they are, the more sugars in the tomato and less acid. If you can’t find overly ripe specimens in the store, just buy what is available and leave to ripen for a few days (not in the fridge!). Also, don’t ruin your expensive chef or veg knife chopping these babies, I use a cheap steak knife to quarter them. Right, onto the recipe:
1.8 kg Tomatoes, quartered, with the cores removed
About 20 ml olive oil
1 Onion, diced
1 Stick of celery, diced, no leaves
1 Potato, peeled and diced
1 tbsp Cooking oil
1 Small knob of butter
1 tsp Mild curry powder (you can use hot if you prefer)
65 g Tomato paste
1 tbsp Sugar
1.2 L Veg stock
2 Bay leaves
80 ml Fresh cream (or sour cream if you like)
2-3 Basil leaves
- Turn your grill (broiler) on (to about 240° C if it has temperature control otherwise max will do) and put a large pot on the stove on a med-low heat with the oil and butter.
- Chuck the quartered tomatoes into a shallow roasting pan, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt, and place it under the grill.
- Check the pot and if the butter has melted, add the onions and celery and cover with lid. Sweat contents of pot for about 10 minutes (until they are glossy and translucent). By this time, the edges of the tomatoes should start to blacken under the grill, so pull out the pan and turn the grill off.
- Add the curry powder and turn the heat up. Stir the onion and celery into the curry powder mix and cook for about two minutes, when the spice becomes fragrant. Add the tomatoes from the pan, juices and all. Squirt in tomato paste and stir. Grab the diced potato and add to the pot. Get your stock ready and pour it in with the bay leaves.
- Bring to boil, turn down the heat to a simmer and leave to cook for 20 minutes, occasionally stirring.
- When ready (the potato bits will be soft), blitz in the blender and serve with a dribble of cream or sour cream, some torn up basil leaves and crusty bread. Enjoy!