We are moving well into the winter months here in Northern Ireland and it sucks – imma summer girl to the core. The clocks went back, the nights are darker, the air is cooler and it is definitely tights, cosy knits and gloves season. In my kitchen, it has also become slow cooker season and soup season. Although I make both of these things all year round, they get particular attention in the colder months.
Soup is a great string to your cooking bow – if you can master the basics of making a warming pot of soup, the recipes are endless. I can generally crack one out in under 30 mins, and many can be done within the hour – leek and potato, ham and pea, creamy mushroom, veg and barley, pumpkin, spiced butternut squash, chicken and wild rice, lentil and bacon…..I could go on, but you catch my drift.
Anyways, I was in Asda and I got some seriously discounted tomatoes (60p for 1.5kg!) and decided to make my tried and true roasted tomato, garlic and pesto soup. It has all the comfort of a traditional tomato soup but has equal amounts of sunshine feels, thanks to its Italian undertones.
It could barely be easier, roast off the tomatoes and garlic and add to a base of carrots, onion, celery, semi dried tomatoes and pesto. A couple of stock cubes later and you have a delicious soup to dunk in some ciabatta, focaccia or cheesie toastie – drooling yet?
Let’s get into it!
Roasted tomato, garlic and pesto soup
- 1.5kg ripe tomatoes – any kind will do, I used cherry and good old salad toms
- 4 whole cloves of garlic
- A few sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- Dash of olive oil
- 1/2 carrot, chopped finely
- 1/2 onion, chopped finely
- 1/2 stick of celery, chopped finely
- 75g semi dried tomatoes, chopped
- 3 tbsp. red pesto
- 1 veg and 1 chicken stock cube
- dash of any kind of cream, double cream, crème fraiche, sour cream etc
- salt and pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 200c fan
- Cut up the tomatoes into quarters or halves depending on the size
- Place onto an oven tray with the whole garlic cloves, thyme, balsamic vinegar and oil and mix together with salt and pepper.
- Put the tray into the oven for around 20 mins until the tomatoes are blistering and starting to char.
- Meanwhile, add the carrot, onion and celery into a large pot with a little splash of oil (large enough to hold the tomatoes too) and fry off on a low heat for 5-10 mins.
- Chuck in the semi-dried tomatoes, frying for a couple of minutes.
- Add in the red pesto and stir together.
- Boil the kettle.
- Take the tomatoes out of the oven when they are done and scrape the whole lot into the pot with the veg
- Pop in the stock cubes and top up with about 500ml of boiling water
- Bring to a simmer and season well
- If you like it chunky, leave it here, but I like my soup smooth, so I blitz it with a hand blender until I’m happy with the texture
- Add in a splash of cream to make it super luxurious