Tomato Soup Recipe – (or how I discovered it)
Years ago, I was newly married, with a tiny baby, and what happens. An electricity strike! No oven for hours at a time. How to cook? Then my father saved the day and bought me a 2-ring gas burner (a camping stove) and my panic was over. Somehow cooking became even more of an adventure.
At the same time, my sister was at catering college and let me borrow her official college manual of basic recipes. So I discovered my classic Tomato Soup recipe of all time. To this day I have never tasted a better one. It freezes wonderfully as well.
Liquidisers were not around at that time, so armed with a big sieve and a trusty wooden spoon, I sieved and sieved the finished rich tomato liquid until velvet smooth, which always resulted in my hands and fingers breaking out in blisters, the pain of which I can remember to this day. But that didn’t stop me. During the strikes, as a family, we probably nearly overdosed on Tomato Soup, as I loved making it. Tasting it as I simmered it was almost even better than eating the finished version.
- 2 oz (50g) butter
- 2 1/2pt (1.25 litres) hot chicken stock – homemade or stock cube
- 1 0z (25g) bacon, roughly chopped
- 2 oz (50g) plain flour
- 4 oz (125g) onion – roughly chopped
- 2 oz (50g) tomato puree
- 1 1/2lb (800g) ripe tomatoes – skinned
- 4 oz (125g) carrots – roughly sliced
- Bouquet garni
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Melt butter, add chopped bacon, onion and carrot and brown lightly. Mix in flour and cook to a sandy texture over gentle heat. Remove from heat.
- Add tomato puree – return to heat. Gradually add hot chicken stock, stirring until it comes up to the boil.
- Add whole skinned tomatoes, bouquet garni and seasoning. Simmer gently for at least one hour. Take off heat and cool.
- Remove bouquet garni. Liquidise – sieve to remove seeds if necessary.
- Return to pan, check seasoning and reheat.
To skin tomatoes – Slash across the top of tomato – put in bowl and pour boiling water completely over the top of tomatoes – after 10 minutes strain and plunge into ice-cold water and the skins should slide off.
Some people prefer to de-seed the tomatoes with a teaspoon, to save sieving afterwards. I prefer to keep the seeds in the soup mix and sieve them out after cooking. I just like to keep as much flavour in as possible.
Cool the soup down, pack into cartons, label and freeze. It freezes very well. When needed, defrost either in carton or put in pan with tablespoon of water, simmer gently until defrosted, bring to the boil and serve.
The recipe works well if you want to double or treble the amounts to freeze a lot of soup when tomatoes are in season.