Tomato, the favorite vegetable of the West.
If you don’t count potatoes, that is, but I don’t. Those are starches, not vegetables to me. No contraversy intended – simply put, it’s my nomenclature and I’m sticking to it. But, this post is not about splitting hairs, or vegetables, so to speak – it’s about the absolutely easiest and delicious roasted tomato soup you can make at home with minumum of effort. This is ridiculously easy, even for my lazy self – which is why I make it again and again when the weather is cold and gloomy, and I want simple (to make) and yummy comfort food. This soup and a grilled cheese sandwich with a slice of dried ham (prosciutto, etc.) tucked in.
Roasting the vegetables mellows out the harshness of garlic and acidity of tomatoes, and concentrates the very tomatoiness of them into a wonderful, literally effortless soup.
- 1kg tomatoes, approximately. (I picked the nicest-looking fresh ripe vine tomatoes the supermarket had. It’s November in Sweden, don’t expect me to regale you with stories of home-grown heirloom varieties!)
- 3-6 cloves of garlic, root tips cut off, peeled or unpeeled (Depending on how lazy you are – if very lazy, peel them. Yes, I mean that and not the other way around).
- 1 large or 2 small onions, peeled and quartered
- 1 chili pepper, seeds removed, and cut into a few chunks (Or half of one if you fear the heat, or a bit of red chili flakes to taste – but I think the fresh chili really shines in this preparation.)
- (Up to) 1/2 L stock – vegetable, chicken, or equivalent amount of water and some chicken or vegetable fond (stock concentrate). I avoid bullion cubes on principle, but I don’t think one of those, or good-quality dry granules would do this soup too much harm either.
- 1-2 teaspoons dried oregano (optional).
- 3 -4 tablespoons olive oil + some to drizzle on vegetables
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
- Greek or Turkish yogurt, to serve
- Grilled cheese sandwiches. To eat with.
So how easy? This is how easy!
- Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a roasting tin with foil (for ease and cleanup, and no I hadn’t bothered but it may be nice), and drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil into it. Smear about.
- Wash and dry tomatoes. Halve, remove tough bits and then quarter.
- Pour tomatoes, quartered onions, peeled or unpeeled garlic and chili bits into the roasting tin. Drizzle with a bit more oil, sprinkle very lightly with a pinch of salt. Add oregano if using.
- Place in oven and roast for 40-60 minutes until onion tips start to char just a bit, and tomatoes have dried edges.
- Take the roasting dish out of the oven. If you went for very lazy option, just pour it all into the goblet of a blender. If you didn’t, pick out the garlic and squeeze the cloves out into the blender (to remove peel), then pour the rest of it into the blender, juices included.
- Blend the living daylights out of this, to pulverize it all, including the tomato skins.
- Pour the contents of the blender into a pot. Rinse blender out with a small amount of stock or boiling water, and add to the pot (no need to waste the precious tomatoiness!). Use enough stock or water to bring soup to desired consistency (which was about 2-3dl for me to be honest).
- Add fond or your bullion cube/granules here if you didn’t use stock. Stir well.
- Turn heat up to medium, stir in 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- While this is heating through, make grilled cheese sandwiches. Maybe in the same hot oven you used for the soup or in whatever sandwich-making contraption you own.
- When soup comes to a very gentle simmer, turn it off.
- Place 2-3 generous tablespoons of yogurt into your soup bowls (optional), and ladle the soup over it.
Curl up on sofa in a pile of cushions and throws, place warm bowl in lap, and slurp ungracefully. Ok, you don’t have to do it that way, but trust me, on a dark, horrible, damp November evening, it rocks.