Stop – It’s Supper Time
Alrighty, humans, listen up! The weather here in Edinburgh may have taken a slightly depressing turn involving some rain and/or hail, but don’t fret – it’s a great reason to make some super yummy, super cozy tomato soup. That’s right, I’m posting my first recipe. The basis of this recipe came from the absolutely precious Jamie Oliver with some slight tweaks of my own. Sadly I was quite hungry, so the number of photos taken was not ideal…sorry about that. I’ll do better next time. I promise!
I was never a fan of tomato soup growing up if I’m honest. To me it always tasted like someone heated up pasta sauce with no pasta. It wasn’t my thing, and I had no idea what I was missing out on. Then, everything changed when I stole a bite of my sister’s soup at a restaurant a few years ago. Well, ‘stole’ is a strong word. She told me to try her soup in the hopes that it would change my mind. And she was so right.
The setting was GW Tavern, an amazing little restaurant in Washington, Connecticut, the town which inspired the legendary Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls. It is one of my favourite restaurants of all time. And like everything else they serve, the tomato soup was magical. It was creamy with chunks of tomato and wilted basil leaves all served in an unassuming little bowl.
I’ve made it my goal to recreate that soup as close as possible, and this is my best attempt yet. Plus, it’s really simple. All you need is a soup pot, a knife, and a blender.
To start with, you will want to peel and chop up your onions, garlic, and carrots. There is no need to be precise as it’s all getting blended later. Heat up some olive oil in your big soup pot and chuck the veg in. Cook it on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes (or until the carrots are starting to get soft and the onions are golden) with the lid askew.
Now if you are using stock cubes you’ll need to get those ready at this point. I always use my kettle to boil the water because I am lazy. You’re supposed to dissolve the stock cubes first before mixing in the stock, but I have been known to throw them in the pot without first dissolving them, and the world didn’t end. I leave that moral dilemma up to you. I don’t have a dishwasher, so sometimes that one extra thing to wash just doesn’t seem worth it.
Anyway, add your stock, canned, and whole tomatoes to the pot. Yes, the whole tomato. Keep the little green stems that may be on the tomatoes as well. Why, you ask? Because Jamie Oliver says it’s tasty, and let me tell you, it is. Bring it all to a boil then turn down the heat. Let it simmer with the lid on for another 10 minutes.
Get your fresh basil leaves ready, though dried basil also works. Once the soup has simmered, turn off the heat and add the basil. At this point I like to take a wooden spoon and squash all of the whole tomatoes because it’s fun. Literally no other reason. Grab your hand blender and blend the soup until it reaches the desired consistency. You can do this with a normal blender as well, just make sure to do it in batches. I always like adding a bit of cream here to make the soup really smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I usually put the soup back on the heat for a minute or two so it’s piping hot when you serve it.
And voila! Your soup is done. Slice up some good bread or be adventurous and make your own bread bowls – go wild. Besides, what is soup if not an excuse to eat obscene amounts of bread?
I’m still perfecting the recipe, so let me know what you think! I’m considering using chopped canned tomatoes to get the chunky consistency of the GW soup, but it is really nice smooth, so we shall see.
Serves 4 – or three hungry grad students
You will need:
- Olive oil
- 2 medium-sized onions
- 2 large carrots
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 6 whole tomatoes
- 2 400g tins of peeled plum tomatoes
- 2 stock cubes/1L stock (chicken or vegetable)
- Fresh basil (but dry works, too)
- Single cream (optional)
- Salt & pepper
- Peel and chop up carrots, onions, and garlic.
- Heat olive oil in big soup pot. Add the vegetables and cook for 10 minutes with the lid askew. Cook until onions are golden and carrots are just getting soft.
- Prepare your stock in another pot if using stock cubes. Add stock, canned tomatoes, and whole tomatoes (with the little stems!) to the pot. Bring to a boil then simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Pick your basil leaves. Turn off the heat and add these to the soup. Blend the soup with a hand blender until smooth. You can also do this in batches in a normal blender. Mix in cream as needed until soup reaches desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place back on heat to warm if needed.
- BAM – you’re done.