Go searching for the best tomatoes - it is worth the slog
The magic behind the best tomato soup is in the tomatoes. If you grow your own, then you are ahead of the curve already. Do not grow rubbish like money maker but get seeds from places like Seeds of Italy. Tomatoes like San Marzano are especially rich and sweet and with the help of some nice weather grow to a substantial size, they are perfect for soup as well as rather nice with just olive oil and good Cornish sea salt. However, if you cannot grow, buy, but make sure you buy the best you can and that they are really ripe and red.
The added perfume to this recipe is from a mix of good home grown basil and a little spice from good Spanish Chorizo. Try and get proper Spanish Chorizo rings, which is often softer and far tastier than the rather poor, pre-sliced packets. You are looking for that warming taste of smoked paprika that you get from the best sausage. Supermarkets are doing better Chorizo these days, but if you can get the genuine article, not the sanitized version you often see, go for it.
This is a warming, creamy soup, perfect for the chill of an evening. So, onwards to the recipe.
- 2kg best, firm-fleshed tomatoes
- 1 large carrot
- 2 sticks celery
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbs fine olive oil
- 100 grams good Spanish Chorizo
- 10 leaves basil
- 1/2 cup milk
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Chilled Vodka
Finely chop the carrot, celery and garlic and gently fry at a low heat for about ten minutes in olive oil till soft, but not browned. Add the Chorizo sausage and let it soften. Be careful not to let it brown and harden.
Roughly chop the tomatoes, removing stalks, and add to the pan with the basil. Reduce the heat and cover till the tomatoes have completely disintegrated. Drink a shot of Vodka. Well, what the hell did you think it was there for? Not for the Soup!
Remove from the heat and, for safety, let it cool a little.
Put through a course mouli or Passata machine to remove skins and generally mash things down. Drink another shot.
Blitz the soup in a liquidiser till it goes creamy. While it is still running, add the milk in a thin stream. You may need to do this in batches so you do not overfill the liquidiser.
Return to the pan and warm gently, seasoning with salt and black pepper.
Serve with optional grated Parmesan cheese and the rest of the vodka (in a glass, not the soup)