I love this change in the weather and how it affects our eating habits. The days of rustling up a salad or light sandwich and sitting outside enjoying the warm summer days have about done for this year. Instead the cooler weather has us reaching for recipe books that have hearty soups and stews in them to enjoy by the log fire.
Their’s nothing better this time of year than a large bowl of home-made soup and some crusty bread for lunch. I usually double the recipe so that I can freeze some for the following week. Tomato soup is one of my favorite soups but it’s really difficult to find a good one when eating out. All too often chefs take the easy route and blend a bottle of pasta sauce and bodda bing you have a cheap tomato soup. I know, enough to put you off soup for life, but I could name a few restaurants that I know do this.
Here is the classical version of tomato soup, the one I used to make at Buckingham Palace. It takes a little longer to prepare but is well worth the effort. Enjoy !
Classic Tomato Soup
Makes about 2 pints
1 oz butter
4 slices smoked bacon (roughly chopped)
1 onion (peeled and roughly chopped)
3 carrots (peeled and roughly chopped)
3 ribs celery (roughly chopped)
1 small leek (roughly chopped and washed)
2-4 cloves garlic, roasted
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 oz flour
1 ½ lb vine tomatoes (about 6)
2 oz tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup malt vinegar
½ cup sugar
½ cup heavy cream (optional)
¼ cup chopped crispy bacon
½ cup mature cheddar cheese
¼ cup sour cream
Melt the butter in a large heavy bottom saucepan and add the bacon, frying gently. Add the vegetables and herbs and sauté until golden brown.
Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil, stirring continuously.
Cover with a lid and place in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and blend in the vegetables then pass through a strainer (discarding the vegetables) for a fine, more delicate soup or blend the vegetables and soup in a food processor for a more rustic version.
Bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil and reduce by half. Add to the Tomato soup to taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cream (optional)
Pour into bowls and garnish with the bacon, cheese and sour cream.