Sunday, 1 August 2010

Fresh Tomato and Basil Soup

This was the result of an accident. Three months ago, I bought a basil plant from the supermarket. I used what I needed, but then somehow managed to keep it alive. I’m not particularly green-fingered, you see. I was so proud of it. It went from strength to strength and doubled in size. It even flowered! I put it out on the windowsill regularly so it could soak up the sunshine. I brought it in at night so it wouldn’t catch a chill.

Then last weekend, I opened the window in the living room and left it perched on the windowsill, which is very narrow. I even walked over to it and contemplated moving it somewhere safer in the event of a large gust of wind. But I didn’t, and a gust of wind blew it off the windowsill and about half the plant was broken off in its fall.

So I scolded myself, swept up the spilt soil and put the remaining plant back in its pot, away from the windowsill. And used the other half* for this recipe.

1kg  ripe tomatoes
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
20g fresh basil
800ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon tomato purée
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Lightly score a cross into the bottom of the tomatoes, then place in a large bowl and pour boiling water over them. Leave for a minute and then drain and peel. The skin should slip off easily. Then chop the tomatoes and set aside.

Finely chop an onion and sweat it in a large pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil, until the onions are soft. Crush the garlic and add to the onions. Fry for a further minute and then add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, salt, pepper and then shred in about half the basil leaves. Stir, then pour over the stock and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes.

In batches, transfer the soup to the blender and blend until smooth. Then push the soup through a sieve to remove any pips. Transfer the soup back to the pan, then, reserving a couple of leaves for decoration, shred the rest of the basil leave into the soup and stir.

Transfer the soup into bowls and decorate with the remaining basil leaves. Serve with olive ciabatta. Delicious!

* I didn’t use the basil immediately and noticed that roots had regrown from two of the stems, so I replanted them!

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