Roast Tomato and Garlic Soup with Bacon and Cheese Toasts

Roast Tomato and Garlic Soup with Bacon and Cheese Toasts

In a sheer fit of lunacy, I once decided to attempt one of Heston Blumenthal’s recipes. Chilli Con Carne to be exact. After three days of painstakingly weighing, chopping, roasting, simmering, straining and thrice cooking about a thousand rand’s worth of ingredients I had Chilli Con Carne that tasted like, well, Chilli Con Carne (and a pretty chilliless one at that – I was obviously a bit too timid). But while I no longer see the point of making my own beef stock when Nomu does an excellent job of it, I did learn one thing: How to extract maximum flavour from the humble tomato with minimum effort.

Tomato soup

Roast Tomato and Garlic Soup with Bacon and Cheese Toasts
 
Hands-on time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For the soup:
  • 1kg fresh tomatoes, cut into quarters (If you can find on the vine, retain the vine. If you can’t, consider tending a tomato plant in your garden for that purpose. Pretty much every garden has one growing somewhere thanks to birds indiscriminately pooping wherever they please.)
  • 1 garlic bulb, cloves peeled
  • 2 onions, cut into quarters
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 30ml balsamic vinegar
  • 15ml sugar
  • 20g tomato paste
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • Seasoning
  • Basil pesto to serve
  • For the bacon and cheese toasts:
  • 4 to 6 Slices of bread (I used potbrood, but any fairly solid loaf will do)
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 250g bacon, fried and chopped
  • 3 heaped tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped oregano
  • Seasoning
Method
  1. For the soup:
  2. Preheat the oven to 200˚C once you are ready with your tomatoes. Place the tomatoes in a colander over a baking dish and sprinkle liberally with Maldon salt. At least a tablespoon full. Allow to stand until a fair amount of juice has collected in the dish. Add the tomatoes to the dish with the onion, peeled garlic cloves, oil and vinegar. Roast at 200˚C for twenty minutes then turn the oven down to 160˚C and roast for a further 40 or so minutes. Once everything looks beautiful and sticky, you stop. Stir occasionally and keep an eye on the garlic because it tends to get a bit too toasty if left on the bottom for too long.
  3. At this point you can take everything, chuck the tomato vine in and refrigerate until you’re ready for the soup. Once you are ready, place the whole lot in a blender with the chicken stock and process till smooth. My husband likes things chunky (a lucky coincidence for me considering I’m ten kilo’s heavier than the day he married me), but if you like your soups smooth, you can pass it through a sieve at this point. Remember to scrape the bits that stick to the bottom of the sieve off – it helps to thicken the soup. Add the tomato paste and stir in the sugar if the tomatoes aren’t sweet enough.
  4. Heat through and serve with a basil pesto swirl and a dash of cream if you like.
  5. For the bacon and cheese toasts:
  6. Mix all the ingredients together. Place the bread slices under a grill and toast till toasty. Flip over and spread the cheese mixture on the untoasted side. Place back under the grill and bake until golden and bubbly. Cut into soldiers and serve with the soup.

 

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