Tomato Basil Soup

Instant tomato soup was one of our household staples in the 60’s and 70’s. It came in a dry package that had to be sprinkled into water and I honestly thought that was how soup was made. Sprinkle, stir, and heat ’til bonded. (Even canned soup was deemed a luxurious alternative.) The fact that it could be made from fresh ingredients didn’t even cross my mind. Tomato soup has since been ingrained in my memory as a nostalgic kids soup, instant or otherwise. So it was no surprise it ended up on the menu for Family Week, and this time I made it from scratch. Thankfully it was enjoyed by not just the kids but the parents too.

Great summer soup for when vine-ripened tomatoes are in season, but tastes lovely in winter too 🙂

Ingredients

1 kg / 2 pounds vine-ripe tomatoes
2 medium red onions
3 cloves garlic
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
500 ml (2 cups) water, plus extra if needed
75 g (½ cup) dried apricots
3 bay leaves
1½ tablespoons dried basil
¼-½ teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
Sea salt, to taste

Method

  • Bring a small pan of water to a rolling boil. Prick the tomatoes with a sharp knife and drop them into the boiling water. When the peel splits, remove from the pan and cover with cold water. Peel and cut into quarters.
  • Peel and large-dice the red onions.
  • Peel the garlic cloves.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan on medium flame and caramelize the red onions and garlic cloves with a dash of salt. When browned, add the tomatoes and fry until they soften, about ten minutes.
  • Transfer the tomatoes, onions, and garlic to a soup pot. Add the dried apricots, bay leaves, basil, and chilli powder, and cover with 500 ml (2 cups) of water.
  • Bring to a boil over a medium flame, turn the flame low, cover and simmer until the red onions are tender, about ten minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaves and whizz the soup with a blender until smooth. Add a little extra water to achieve the right consistency if desired.
  • Season to taste with salt, chilli powder, and basil.
  • Serve garnished with a few fresh basil leaves, ground black pepper, and grated parmesan cheese or sour cream.

5 litres water and sea salt
3 kg tomatoes
2 kg red onion
2 bulb garlic
375 g apricots
Chilli powder
6 tablespoons basil
12 bay leaves
Chick peas floating around

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