I like tomatoes in every form except tomato juice and tomato soup. I’d rather not drink, than have a Bloody Mary, but I’m always hoping to meet a tomato soup that will change my mind. The closest I’ve come so far is a lobster bisque, but that’s more about lobster, with the tomato just playing a supporting role.
This soup comes pretty close to what I’m looking for but if you do like tomato soups than you’re going to love it. And if you have a partner who loves tomato soup, then I suggest you make an extra portion or be prepared to surrender your share.
700 gm soft tomatoes, washed and quartered
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1½ tsp salt
10 gm garlic, minced
50 gm onion, chopped
1-inch piece cassia
1 small bay leaf
3 pieces star anise
50 gm carrot, diced
15 gm celery with leaves, chopped
100 gm tomato puree
750 ml beef or vegetable stock
½ tsp chilli powder
10 peppercorns, crushed
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
1 grilled cheese sandwich cut into quarters
Pre-heat the oven to 200⁰ C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and arrange the quartered tomatoes on it. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle some salt over (preferably sea salt).
Roast for 45 minutes. Remove and keep aside to cool when done
Pour the oil into a saucepan and add the whole spices.
Fry on low heat till the spices begin to pop.
Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute. Stir in the chopped onion and continue frying for about 2 minutes or till they turn translucent.
Stir in the carrot and chopped celery and fry for another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add in the roasted tomatoes and tomato puree. Raise the heat and fry for about a minute.
Pour in the stock. Add the chilli powder. Bring it to a boil.
Lower the heat, cover the saucepan and simmer for about 20 minutes or till reduced by a third.
Turn off heat, stir in half the crushed pepper corns and cool to room temperature.
While the soup is cooling prepare the grilled cheese sandwich.
Discard the whole spices. Puree in a mixer or food processor till smooth.
Pass the mixture through a sieve into the same saucepan that you cooked the soup base. You should have a nice thick, smooth soup.
Re-heat over a low flame stirring regularly. Taste to adjust spiciness. Cut the sandwich into quarters or triangles
Pour the soup into bowls and divide the remaining crushed pepper corns equally. Arrange the grilled cheese sandwich on the surface and garnish with a celery leaf.
Preparation Time: 1 hour 15 minutes