Roast Tomato Soup

Roast Tomato Soup

Roast Tomato Soup
There are few things more comforting than a bowl of piping hot tomato soup with a deliciously basic toasted cheese sandwich....  This is my tomato soup recipe, using mini-roma tomatoes, oven roasted with a little balsamic and a generous dollop of garlicky oil.

Roast Tomato Soup1kg ripe and sweet tomatoes - which ever variety is in season near you; I have used Roma and baby Roma tomatoes as I think they have a satisfyingly traditional tomato flavour.
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
1 litre of stock (vegetable, chicken or beef depending on your preference - or if you prefer, just lightly salted water)
1 head of garlic
1/2  tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or even better raspberry vinegar reduction
2 anchovies or a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
a few sprigs of thyme or sage
olive oil
salt, pepper and (if you insist) chilli to taste

Prepare a baking tray by lining it very generously with baking paper, allowing for a high 'wall' of paper around the outside.
Place all the tomatoes, whole, on the baking tray nestled around the corm of garlic.  Trickle over a generous glug of olive oil and balsamic vinegar then sprinkle on some salt, pepper, herbs, nutmeg and if desired chilli.
Bake in a moderate oven until the tomatoes are collapsing but not frizzled.

Remove from the oven and immediately cover with a sheet of foil, then leave to cool for at least 10 minutes.
Once cool enough to handle, squish gently with a spoon, easing off the skins.  Squeeze out the garlic cloves into a small bowl, add a little extra salt, the sugar and anchovies.  Mix into a thick paste.

In a large soup pot add the roasted garlic, tomato puree and tomato flesh and warm through gently. Add the stock and bring to a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes.  Taste and adjust as needed.
Use a stick blender to pulp the tomato flesh and thoroughly combine the tomatoes with the stock.

If a totally clear soup free of tomato pieces is preferred, strain the soup through a muslin cloth and return to the heat.
Add a few sprigs of thyme or some finely sliced sage leaves to serve.

Options:  for a slightly thicker soup add a tablespoon of cornflour dissolved in water once the soup is warm.  For a creamy tomato soup add a tablespoon or two of cream or sour cream just before serving.  Of course for those with a bacon fixation, there is always the option of adding a little diced fried bacon to the top of the soup before serving...