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Fresh Tomato Soup

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Serves: 6
1.3-1.6 kg /3-3 1/2 lb ripe tomatoes
400ml / 14 fl oz chicken or vegetable stock
45ml / 3 tbsp sun-dried tomato puree
30-45ml / 2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
10-15ml / 2-3 tsp sugar
small handful of fresh basil leaves, plus extra to garnish
salt and ground black pepper
toasted cheese croutes and creme fraiche, to serve

Plunge the tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds, then refresh in cold water. Peel off the skins and quarter the tomatoes. Put them in a large pan and pour over the chicken or vegetable stock. Bring just to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes until the tomatoes are pulpy.

Stir in the tomato puree, vinegar, sugar and basil. Season with salt and pepper, then cook gently, stirring, for 2 minutes. Process the soup in a blender or food processor, then return to a clean pan and reheat gently. Serve in bowls, topped with one or two toasted cheese croutes and a spoonful of creme fraiche, garnished with basil leaves.

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