Winter Warmers: Red Tomato Soup with Basil-Parsley Puree

The bright yellow rays of the sun are overshadowed by gloomy grey clouds, the orange light of the day is dimmed by the silver glare of the moon; this is the stark color change that changes our mood with the onset of winter. Along with thick jackets and perilously low temperatures, winter brings with it an increase in our appetites. The food we crave are those that help keep us warm, satiated and most importantly bring the smile back on our frozen faces. What better way than to bring color to the dinner table; use bright vegetables and recipes that splash hues of bright tints across a gloomy gathering. The blushing tomato seems to fit the bill; tantalizes your taste-buds and soothing to the eyes. And since its winter, time for a tomato based pasta to give way to a hearty bowl of tomato soup to keep your warm and healthy. The best part is unlike other fresh ingredients, cooking tomatoes does not reduce its nutritional benefit. So best to keep all winter related viruses at bay with a bowl of fresh tomato soup.

Red Tomato Soup with Basil-Parsley Puree

Most recipes that I came across either thickened the soup with cream or used excessive butter in its preparation. I wanted to stay far away from any fatty additives and use the essential flavors of the tomato for the soup. However, in order to thin the soup slightly I used chicken stock, which can also be substituted for vegetable stock. In order to add more color and flavor to the soup, I decided to make a basil-parsley puree. A dollop of green on a ruby red backdrop not only heightened its beauty but its flavors as well. It gave a simple tomato soup a rustic and earthy appeal. This recipe might be slightly more complicated than normal, but then again it packs in all the needed flavors. A bit more work but well worth it in the end.

Red Tomato Soup with Basil-Parsley Puree

Ingredients:

  • 6 large ripe tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1 cup basil
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 cup chicken stock

Preparation:

  • In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil and add the chopped onion. Saute till tender and opaque (do not brown)
  • Add in the chopped red chillies and minced garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes till fragrant
  • Toss in half of the basil and parsley. Stir till the leaves wilt
  • At this point, add in the chopped tomatoes, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, dried basil, balsamic vinegar, sugar and tomato puree. Mix well till it comes to a boil
  • Lower the heat, cover and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. The tomatoes should be very soft and pulpy, almost broken down. If they are not, simmer for a further 5 minutes
  • Uncover and let the mixture cool down for at least 10 minutes
  • Meanwhile prepare the basil-parsley puree. In a blender, add in the remaining basil, parsley, olive oil, little water and 1/4 tsp salt. Blend till pureed
  • Once the tomato mixture has cooled down, place it in a blender in batches. Blitz till smooth. Repeat with the remaining mixture and return to the saucepan on low heat
  • In another saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Gradually add the boiling chicken stock to the tomato mixture while stirring. Stop adding the stock once it reaches your desired consistency
  • Place the tomato soup in bowls and dollop some on the basil-parsley puree before serving

Red Tomato Soup with Basil-Parsley Puree

Personally, I like tomato soup to be slightly thick, enough for it to stay on the spoon, however, you can add more chicken stock if you want the consistency to be runny. One bite of the soup with the puree will make all the hard work that goes into making this soup worth while, all your efforts are sure to bear fruit with compliments from your family or guests. It is easy to make in advance and store for a party, just heat before serving. The herbs help to heighten the aroma and flavors of this otherwise simple soup. Toss in a few croutons for an added crunch. Hope this helps to keep you warm and nourished this winter.

 

Red Tomato Soup with Basil-Parsley Puree