This is a rich tomato soup, it’s absolutely delicious…even my 2 ½ year old was loving it! Perfect for a starter, main course or even as a base for a pasta sauce! Use plum or vine-ripened tomatoes, in fact whatever tomato you use, just make sure it’s red, ripe and juicy.
10-12 plum tomatoes (even better are vine-ripened tomatoes if you can get them), cut lengthwise
1 large onion, cut into quarters
6 cloves of garlic, peeled (4 left whole for roasting and 2 crushed for sautéing)
4 tablespoons olive oil (you’ll use 3 tbs for roasting and 1 tbs for frying garlic)
1/3 cup dry red wine
2 cups chicken stock (I used 1½ stock cubes in 2 cups water)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped (and some extra for garnish)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Optional: ¼ – ½ cup cream if you want it to be a little creamier / less tart
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Place the tomatoes, onions and 4 garlic cloves onto a large roasting tray. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour and allow to cool.
- Once cooled, transfer it to a blender and puree until smooth.
- In a medium-sized pot (big enough for the soup) and over medium heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 cloves crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
- Now pour in the pureed tomato mixture and cook for roughly 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, sugar, chopped basil, red wine, chicken stock and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine.
- Allow the mixture to come to the boil and then reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
- If you’d like the soup even smoother, run the blender through the soup again.
For the Grilled Cheese Croutons:
4 pieces white or whole-wheat bread
Cheese of your choice: Mozzarella and Cheddar are great, you can even use a combination of the two. You need about 1 – 1½ cups grated cheese
- Spread butter on both sides of the bread.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium heat.
- Place the 4 slices of bread in the pan so they can get crispy on one side. Once the bread has browned slightly, flip the bread and sprinkle a little cheese on the crispy sides.
- Allow the cheese to melt while the other side of the bread gets crispy and brown.
- Now that the cheese has melted, put two slices together ie. you will be making 2 sandwiches.
- Continue to flip the sandwiches until they are at the desired level of crispiness!
- Remove the sandwiches from the pan, allow to cool for a few minutes and then cut into crouton-sized pieces or larger.
- Serve with the soup.