The Soupening continues here in the hellish landscape of Oslo, Norway. How we manage to do anything here is beyond me. We are closing in fast on Halloween now so a bit of gore is to be expected – therefore todays theme is Blood Red Tomato Soup. Oh, mmmm tasty and an excellent substitute for fake blood if you are in need of that, just remember to let it cool down first. Or not if you are using it on someone else, mwaha hahahahaaa haa a. Ok then, let’s get to the:
Simple (and quick or slow) Tomato Soup:
- 1 Onion (I used a red one but any onion works)
- 2 Celery stalks
- 1 Carrot
- a bit of olive oil (about two table spoons)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
- Two tins of tomatoes (I like the cherry tomato ones but use what you have and like)
- Chicken fond (2 tablespoons, optional) or a stock cube (also optional)
- A handful of chopped Oregano (fresh) or a palm full if dry
- A handful of chopped Basil (fresh) same as above with dry
- a pinch of sugar
- You can also add any kind of spicier stuff you like with your soup. Chili flakes or smoked paprika is tasty.
Chop the vegetables as fine as you can. Try to make them semi even, but dont worry too much. They cook a bit quicker if they are fine, but it really doesn’t matter as long as you don’t burn anything. The reason chefs make everything roughly the same size is that it cooks evenly, and the smaller it is the shorter it takes to cook it. If you have a food processor you can use it to chop up vegetables for you if using a knife is difficult. I use mine for any bulk project, like the massive amount of sauerkraut I made the other week that took me all of four minutes to do all together. Crush the garlic cloves and slice roughly (just smack them with something or use a garlic press).
Pro tip: Unless you have very large or very small hands the palm of your hand holds just about a table spoon of any dry ingredient (like herbs). Very useful and time and dishes saving 🙂
Pour a bit of oil in the soup skillet, toss in the vegetables and let them simmer on a medium heat until they soften. This takes a couple of minutes and you have to stir occasionally so they don’t burn. Sit on something if you get tired or shaky. I have a little step ladder that is far to low but I use it anyway. Put in a tablespoon or two of tomato puree and let it simmer for a minute or two to get the rawness out- then pour in the tinned tomatoes and add the herbs. Add some water as well, I usually rinse out the tomato cans to get the leftover tomato juice so about half a tin each? A bit of salt and pepper- and a pinch of sugar. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down low and let the soup simmer under a lid as long as you like.
Pro tip: Sugar, like black pepper is a flavour enhancer in smaller amounts. If your tomato dish needs something its usually a pinch or two of sugar. You don’t need much, don’t overdo it or you’ll end up with tomato jam.
Tomatoes tend to get sweeter and meatier the longer they cook, although the rawness and freshness of letting it cook around 10-20 minutes can also be good. I like them both. Do what your stomach tells you to. You can go sit down and let the soup cook itself so set a timer on your phone if you are liable to forget you have something on the stove.
I have no memory of this soup Gandalf, never mind where we are!
Now its time to put the soup in the food processor, blender or use a handheld mixer if you want it smooth, or just smash up the tomatoes a bit more with a fork or whatever (potato mashers work) and eat it lumpy. Remember to taste after smashing to see if you need more salt and pepper or something. It will probably need a bit more salt.
Todays soup took me just about five minutes to put together and that included taking pictures. I managed to make coffee in my french press while I sauteed the vegetables and cleaned up the little mess I made. So, very quick to make.
It’s also versatile. The soup is fairly thick and can easily be used as a tomato base when you are making any kind of tomato sauce for pasta dishes. You might have noticed there are three tins of tomatoes in the picture (and no tomato pure ’cause I forgot to take it out for picture day). That’s because I’m making a large lasagne next week and need tomato sauce for it.
I can’t eat Parmesan because it’s cow’s milk, but if you have leftover old Parmesan that has been sitting a while in your fridge getting hard around the edges put it in the leftover soup (in bits, hard edges and all) and let it melt. It takes a while to melt but becomes delicious pasta sauce and is great served with meatballs for instance. I use Manchego (sheeps milk) cheese as a substitute which tastes great but doesn’t get quite the right texture. Freeze in portions and you have instant pasta sauce whenever you want.
- Add some macaroni. Not too much though, if you still want it to be soup and not sauce. For us spoonies its probably best if you cook the pasta separately and chuck it in just before you eat so it doesn’t end up sticking to the bottom of the soup skillet when you can’t manage to stir it any more. Happened to me you ask?
- You can put some cream in your soup, or serve with a dollop of sour cream.
- Us Norwegians serve some soups like tomato and spinach with wedges of semi-hardboiled eggs. Try it, it’s tasty.
- A little drizzle of good olive oil on top and some fresh bread.
- Heat it up with the chili/hot sauce/mexican spices of your choice and serve with avocado and tortilla chips.
- What you like in or with your soup, I’m not a dictator. Unfortunately. I think I’d be brilliant at it.
Soup of the Red!
Next time I think I’m gonna do something with meat or fish in it, the soups up til now have all been possible to make fully vegetarian/vegan so it’s time to do something a bit more proteinous.