Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Winter Roast Tomato & Spicy Chorizo soup

I have a passion for tomato soup. Roasted (see my simple roast tomato soup recipe), creamed, spicy, as a base to another ingredient, you name it, tomatoes are an incredibly versatile soup complement. I find spicy chourizo, with it's rich, fatty exotic flavour is the perfect partner to a warm tomato soup on a cold winter's day, with a robust glass of red wine.

I'm also very partial to layered textures and flavours. The humble bean is a wonderful carrier for the spiciness of the sausage and the richness of the roast tomato. I chose to add baked beans to this soup, as there's something childishly comforting about the soft, subtle flavour they impart. The sweetness of their sauce also compliments the tomato and spice. The butter beans on the other hand, provide respite in their large neutralness, balancing the more intense flavours. And, in my opinion, on a wintery evening, you want the satisfaction of a home-made soup simmering on the stove, but you also want to be able to reach into the store cupboard for your ingredients. 

  • 10 roma tomatoes, halved and deseeded
  • Olive oil
  • Pinch of salt & sugar, respectively 
  • Dried mixed herbs (if you have fresh, opt for a tspchopped origanum and a tsp chopped thyme)
  • 225g courizo sausage
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 1 large garlic clove (or two small ones)
  • 3 small red chillies, for a medium heat (adjust to suit your palette)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tin cream of tomato soup
  • 1 tin baked beans
  • 1 tin butter beans
  • Salt & pepper
Fresh chillies, garlic, an onion and the hero of the soup: the chorizo.
This is sausage-maker Rudi's Portugese Chorizo
that I picked up at the City Bowl Market.

How to make:
Heat the oven to 200˚C. Place the halved, deseeded tomatoes in a roasting pan/plate. Douse with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, the herbs and a little sugar to counter the tomatoes' acidity. Pop in the oven to roast for about half and hour till soft and oozing.
Ripe Roma tomatoes, halved with their seeds removed,
being prepared for roasting in the oven.

In the meantime, brown the chorizo. Lightly coat the base of a pot with olive oil (the chorizo will release its own fat) and fry the sausage on a medium heat.
Frying off the chorizo. When you're browning meat,
it's always best not to overcrowd the pan. 
Brown the chorizo gently and remove, setting aside on a paper towel. Use the oil that's left in the pot to saute the onions. When they begin to stick, deglaze with the red wine.

Onions sweating and reducing in red wine used for deglazing;
browned chorizo resting on a paper towel; and roast tomatoes out of the oven.
When the wine has reduced, add the chopped chilli and garlic. As they become fragrant, stir in the roasted tomatoes along with all their oven juices and the chorizo. Allow the flavours to meld before adding a cup of vegetable stock. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.

The roasted Roma tomatoes and chorizo simmering in the onion, red wine, 
chilli, garlic vegetable stock goodness!

Remove the tomatoes from the simmering stock mixture and place in a blender. Some will have disintegrated, which is fine, but try to get all the skins which can become stingy and chewy. Blend with half a tin of tomato soup to a rough texture, until all the skins are combined. Add this tomato "sauce" back to the pot, with the rest of the tomato soup and stock. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the tin of baked beans in its sauce, and the butter beans, rinsed and drained. Stir in the final cup of stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste, serve and enjoy!

Winter's best: a hearty, spicy, velvety tomato soup.

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