January can be a pretty dreary month. Its gloomy days call for something comforting yet light enough to remind us that the warmer months are just around the corner. My spicy tomato soup is guaranteed to add a little color to your day (and your cheeks)! It’s packed with zingy, punchy flavors and has just the slightest touch of sweetness.
How To Serve
I like to serve a soup like this one as a light lunch or a simple starter to an Italian meal. If serving the soup for lunch, add a fresh ciabatta and perhaps a plate of various sliced cold cuts or a nice chunk of pate. As a starter, you might choose to serve the soup in shallow plates. Each portion can be decorated with a fresh sprig of thyme.
The soup is lovely with a chilled sauvignon blanc.
Thick, Spicy Tomato Soup
Serves 4 for lunch and 6 as a starter
- 950g good tomatoes
- 2 tbsps mild olive oil (not extra virgin)
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- small bunch of thyme, finely chopped
- pinch of chili flakes
- 300 ml of water
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1-2 tbsp Italian spice mix
- 3 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp Basque hot sauce (or any other thick hot sauce, to taste)
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Using a sharp knife, carve an X on the bottoms of your tomatoes. You only need to make a cut on the skins. No need to cut any deeper! Blanch your tomatoes in a pan of boiling water for approximately 3 minutes. You will see that the skins start to curl up where you made the cuts. Transfer the tomatoes to a pan of cold water and allow them to cool. The skins should now peel off easily. Chop the tomatoes (including their seeds), remembering to discard the cores.
Saute the chopped onions, thyme and chili flakes in the olive oil for about five minutes. You don’t want this to color, but rather to release the flavors into the oil. Add the chopped tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the soup to simmer, in a covered pan, for about an hour. Puree the soup through a mill. I also do this using a potato masher. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve in deep bowls. The soup is also delicious made a day in advance. This allows the flavors to intensify and really shine through.