It’s a tradition in my family that every New Year’s Day we have a gathering on the common with our neighbours, warmed up by cups of hot tomato soup, and so this recipe is a tribute to that. Tomato soup is a wonderfully soothing antidote to the inevitably terrible weather we tend to enjoy this time of year, and the chilli should help ward off wintertime illnesses. My parents took a thermos of this soup to the football and it kept them sustained through the harsh, chilling wind and rain. I hope it will cheer up your dreary January days!
I’ve left the amount of chillies you need vague, since this depends a lot on your own personal tastes, and the hotness of individual chillies varies so much (generally, smaller chillies are hotter). The cream is optional, but will add a nice smoothness to your soup.
NB You will need a blender. This recipe is loosely based on Mark Bittman’s Wintertime Tomato Soup.
Roasted Tomato and Chilli Soup
2 x 400g tin whole plum tomatoes (Sainsbury’s Basics/Tesco Value)
3 whole cloves garlic, peeled
4 tbsp olive oil or sunflower oil
salt and pepper
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 stick celery, chopped (optional)
2-3 red chillis, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 vegetable stock cube
150 ml single cream
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Drain the plum tomatoes, ensuring you keep back the tomato liquid. Place them in a medium roasting tin along with the garlic cloves. Drizzle 2 tbsp of the oil on them and add good sprinkling of salt. Roast them in the oven for 30 minutes, turning them halfway through cooking.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a medium saucepan over a low-medium heat, and gently fry the onion, red chilli, and celery if using. Whilst they’re cooking, whisk 750 ml boiling water with the stock cube.
- Once the onion mixture is cooked, add the stock, tomato puree, the tomato juice from the tinned tomatoes, and the contents of the roasting tin from the oven. You may want to slosh some of the stock around the empty tomato can and the roasting tin to get the last remnants of tasty tomatoeyness into your soup. Season your soupy mixture.
- Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down low and simmer for 25-30 minutes with the lid off.
- Let the soup cool a little, then blend to a smooth consistency. If using, add the cream slowly to the soup as you blend it. This soup benefits from being left for a few days as the chilli flavour develops more, so don’t worry if you have left overs.