This subtly spiced Roasted Tomato Soup recipe is at its most delicious made in summertime when tomatoes are at their best. To further intensify the flavor of the soup, it is a good idea to take the time to roast the tomatoes on a baking sheet together with red onions, garlic and thyme before cooking the tomatoes further with some stock. That way, you get all the ingredients cooked down and caramelized before you simmer them with your stock and then purée them.
As far as the stock is concerned, either go vegetarian and use a vegetable stock or use chicken stock here. If you can, use a homemade one or chose a good quality storebought stock. If you use homemade, you might have to add a bit more salt in the end as homemade stocks tend to be less salty than the ones you buy ready made.
It is also worth noting that adding roasted red onions will add a very nice touch of sweetness here while the chili flakes add a bit of brightness and punch. Summer in a bowl.
Roasted Tomato Soup
Ingredients for the Roasted Tomatoes
- 10 to 12 ripe plum (or use regular) tomatoes, halved widthways – if you use regular tomatoes, they will excude more liquid while roasting, making the soup a bit less concentrated
- 2 red onions, peeled, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- salt, freshly ground black pepper and some chili flakes (optional)
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock, plus more for thinning
- For the roasted tomatoes, preheat your oven to 220°C (450°F) degrees.
- In a large bowl toss together the tomatoes, onions, garlic, chili flakes (if using) and olive oil. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Then arrange the vegetables in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (roasting tray), arrange the thyme sprigs amongst the veggies and bake until most tomatoes and onions are wrinkled and brown in spots, about 35 to 40 minutes. NOTE: it does not matter if the baking sheet is crowded.
- Lift the baking sheet from your oven, rest on a cooling rack and remove the thyme sprigs.
- Carefully transfer the cooked vegetables including all the pan juices to a large dutch oven or heavy pot.
- Add stock (homemade if you have some) and bring to a rapid boil. Then turn down the heat and continue to cook, uncovered, until slightly reduced and the tomatoes are really soft, about 25 minutes.
- Puree until smooth – I like to use an immersion blender here - (use caution when blending hot liquids).
- Season with salt and pepper and if necessary thin with additional stock.
- To serve, ladle the soup into serving bowls.
- Top with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh basil leaves or some avocado (diced, mixed with freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, freshly ground black pepper, olive oil and some julienned soft herbs).
Ingredients for the Pita Bread
- 500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 350ml tepid water
- 30g fresh yeast (or use 14g instant yeast instead)
- 2 tsps sugar
- 3 tbsps olive oil
- 1 egg (M), free range or organic
- 4 tbsps white sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp nigella seeds or black onion seeds
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt.
- Add 350ml lukewarm water and the crumbled yeast to a small bowl, stir until the yeast has dissolved.
- Add the yeast-water mixture and 2 tablespoons of oil to the flour mixture. Mix until you have a very sticky, soft dough. Place the dough into a large, clean, oiled bowl. Cover with food wrap and then a tea towel and leave to prove until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
- When the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto your work surface dusted generously with flour. Knead by hand for about 5 minutes. The dough will be wet in the beginning but will form a smooth dough once kneaded.
- Place the dough into a large, clean, oiled bowl. again. Cover with food wrap and then a tea towel and leave to prove until doubled in size, about another 40 minutes.
- Split the dough into two equally sized balls. Roll each ball into an round shape about 25 cm (9.8 in) diameter. Cover loosely with your tea towel.
- Preheat your oven to 250° C (475° F) regular or 220°C (430 °F) convection and place a clean baking sheet (or use baking stone) on the middle shelf.
- In a small bowl mix together the egg, with the remaining sugar (1 tsps) and oil (1 tbsp).
- Remove the hot sheet from the oven, dust with flour and place the pita bread on it. (You will have to bake them one after the other, keep the other one covered while baking the first one).
- Just before baking them off, brush with beaten egg mixture plus sprinkle with sesame and nigella seeds.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden. NOTE: after 5 minutes of baking time, pour a bit of cold water into the hot oven (to raise humidity) and close the oven immediately.
- Once baked and golden, remove them from the oven and cover with a clean cloth until they are cool.
This velvety soup makes for a simple and elegant meal. Enjoy as is, make ahead, freeze some or chill it and serve it cold – and if you feel up to it, make some Pita Bread to serve alongside.