Roasted Tomato and Thyme Soup

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My absolute favourite way of making tomato soup ever. It’s foolproof, and just delicious. It’s also ideal for when you have a tomato glut.

The recipe I’m gonna give you today is from Sophie Dahl, the granddaughter of Roald Dahl, my favourite childhood writer and the actress Patricia Neal, who was in my favourite movie from the 1960’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s with Audrey Hepburn. Incidentally, Sophie is linked through both her parents to Audrey Hepburn; her paternal grandfather, Stanley Holloway, played Audrey’s father in the film version of the musical based on the George Bernard Shaw play, Pygmalion, My Fair Lady.

Anyway enough about Sophie’s family history, this recipe is her Roasted Tomato and Thyme Soup, it was featured in her television series “The Delicious Miss Dahl”, but unfortunately it wasn’t in the book. After watching the series I went onto the BBC site to see if I can find the recipe, and I did, I quickly jotted down the ingredients and what to do, and went to the supermarket, and brought the ingredients. I know it’s not seasonal to make anything tomatoey with January ones, but I find when you roast them when they are not at their best, something magical happens to them, they become more like how a tomato should be.

The original recipe from Ms Dahl, calls for it to be served alongside double-baked potatoes filled with a cheesy oniony mix, and somehow that didn’t appeal to me, so after making this soup the first time I served it alongside toasted cheese sandwiches done on the George Foreman Grilling Machine, which is much better for the job than those sandwich makers we all had in the 90s, so much easier to clean, and you get those cool grill marks.

What I like about this soup is that it looks and tastes creamy, but there’s no hint of cream.

Roasted Tomato and Thyme Soup -adapted from Sophie Dahl

2kg large plum tomatoes, halved, stalks removed if brought on vine
1 garlic bulb, cut in half horizontally
2 large red onions, peeled and quartered
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tbsp caster sugar
sea salt and freshly milled black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
250ml good quality vegetable stock, I use that really good bouillon powder that’s available in supermarkets these days, this is optional
few drops balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 190c/fan 180c/gas 5.

Place the tomatoes, garlic, onions, thyme, sugar and seasoning into a roasting tin, add the oil and toss everything together with your hands. Roast this in the oven for 40-50 minutes, I usually leave it for 50 minutes because you get more caramelising on the tomatoes and from the onions.

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool slightly, removing the thyme sprigs. Take out the roasted garlic, and over a bowl you squeeze out the sweet insides, and discard the scorched papery skins. With the back of a fork, you mash the garlic to a puree.

Into the bowl of  a blender, you tip in the mashed garlic, along with the tomatoes and onions, pulse this until smooth; if the resulting mixture is too thick, add the stock, and pulse again. Pour into a saucepan and reheat gently, adding a little balsamic vinegar to taste. Serve in mugs with either toasted cheese sandwiches or hot buttered toast.

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