09 Sep Roast Tomato + Sweetcorn Soup
Tomato soup has been kind of ruined for me. It’s a ubiquitous soup that is often poorly executed. Before I knew how to cook for myself, I would indulge in tins of ready-made tomato soup, which are so synthetically manipulated that they are so far away from actual tomato soup made from deliciously ripe and juicy tomatoes.
This week, I’ve adapted a recipe I found on the BBC’s Good Food website, and it’s a tomato soup that takes on a bit of a Mexican theme. It’s really simple to throw together, and I love the final result of a tomato soup that packs a bit of heat, cooled down by thick sour cream and creamy avocado.
If you weren’t in a hurry, you could take the time to remove the skins from the tomatoes before you roast them. But, who has the time for that? Yes, of course removing the skin makes the consistency of the soup much smoother and arguably better, but I don’t think it’s an absolutely necessary step, particularly when you’re stuck for time. Do it on the weekends or if you decide to make this soup for a summertime dinner party starter. If it’s just you and your loved ones you’re cooking for, I think you can all handle the odd unblitzed tomato skin in the soup.
Like any recipe that calls for corn on the cob, if you can get a fresh cob it’s always going to be better than tinned sweetcorn. It’s a question of texture and taste, as sweetcorn in a tin loses its crunch and becomes a bit soaked by whatever preserving liquid they’ve been swimming in. Even if you can get a pre-cooked but whole corn on the cob, that’s a better option.
1 tablespoon of paprika
Half a teaspoons of cayenne pepper
Whole head of garlic
500ml of vegetable stock
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 whole corn on the cob
1 red chilli, sliced
1 ripe avocado, sliced
Fresh coriander, chopped
Tub of sour cream
1. Pre-heat your oven to 200c/180c fan/gas mark 6. Chop your tomatoes in half and place them in a roasting dish. Sprinkle the smoked paprika evenly over the tomatoes, and then do the same with the cayenne pepper. Slice the whole head of garlic in half and place it in amongst the tomato slices. Drizzle generously with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put in the oven to roast for 25 to 30 minutes.
2. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and place into a large saucepan. Cover with the chicken stock, add the sugar, and bring to the boil. Squeeze in the juice of one fresh lime. Use a hand-held blender to blitz the soup so that you have a smooth tomato soup.
3. Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to cut the corn kernels away from the cob. Add to the tomato soup and heat through.
4. Use a hand-held blender to gently blitz the soup so that about half the corn kernels are blitzed, and half remain intact. At this point, check your soup for seasoning, and add a bit of salt, pepper or sugar if needed.
5. Serve in bowls with some chilli slices, avocado and fresh coriander sprinkled on top. Finish with a dollop of sour cream and serve with some extra lime wedges on the side.
Storecupboard Essential: Good Quality Stock
It’s essential when making soup that you have a really good quality chicken or vegetable stock in your pantry. I really like Kallo’s Organic stock cubes (www.kallow.com) and Irish company Dr Coy’s Organic Vegetable Bouillon (www.drcoys.ie). When I make a roast chicken on a Sunday, I boil up the leftover bones with some vegetable and herb scraps, and then sieve the liquid into tupperware, to be frozen until my next soup making session.
This recipe first appeared in The Irish Independent on 8th September 2016