I love tomatoes, especially the home grow kind – fresh, sweet, full of aroma… There are so many dishes they can be used for and Fresh Tomato Soup is one of the meals I enjoy the most.
There is however a huge difference between home grown tomatoes and the ones you can buy in a supermarket. If you want to make a truly tasty tomato soup you simply can’t buy the cheap range ingredients. Don’t get me wrong I am not trying to suggest that value or so called salad tomatoes aren’t good for anything, but they aren’t for sure good enough for a tomato soup. In order to get the flavours you need to splash on a higher end of veggie section, or even better hunt your local farmer down (yes, I know this might not be so easy at this time of the year… My apologies, it took my ages to get around to actually writing this recipe down and the tomato season is over).
So, let’s start with the ingredients:
- 500g of chicken – we used chicken thighs, which are actually perfect for the soup
- 300g of smoked pork belly
- 2 carrots
- 2 parsnips
- 1 large leek
- ½ large celery; the root end (so called ugly part), not the nice stalks
- 1kg of ripe, good quality tomatoes
- 1 large onion
- Good handful of chopped basil
- 1tbs of pepper corns
- 2 bay leaves
- 100g of wild rice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil for frying
Wash and peel all root vegetables – carrots, parsnips, celery and leeks – place them into a large cooking pot, add chicken, pork belly and a pinch of salt, pepper corns and bay leaves then fill with water about 2-3cm lower than a rim of the pot.
Fire-up the cooker and let it cook for at least a couple of hours.
In a second pot start cooking your rice. The rice doesn’t have to be hot when your soup is served so it can be cooked well in advance. Make sure that your rice isn’t overcooked in fact it is better slightly undercooked. You really don’t want to have sticky rice in your soup. Oh, and don’t forget to add a bit of salt to your water.
Now would be a good time to start working on our tomatoes. Wash them well and place in a large bowl. Boil a kettle of water and pour hot water over your tomatoes and let stand for 30sec or so, this will allow you to remove the skins without any problems. Skin the tomatoes and chop into 1cm cubes.
Chop the onion and prepare a good handful of fresh basil.
Take a large frying pan; add a bit of olive oil and start with frying your onions. Fry them until soft but still light in colour (don’t let them change the colour). Add the tomatoes and basil and fry on a low heat for around 10 minutes.
Once done, pop all of the mixture into your soup. Let it all boil again and cook for further 30 minutes.
Now is a messy part. We have to remove all the meat from our soup and all other large chunks. You can use a sieve to do it or just use spoon with holes and fish out all the necessary ingredients.
Put the pork belly aside for the moment.
De-skin, peel and chop your chicken meat.
Cut all the root vegetables you want back in your soup into smaller chunks. (You can chop the veggies up at the start of the cook but I use big size veggies as sometimes I have to discard some of them like the celery in order for family members to actually try the soup, and I don’t want to lose any of the flavours by missing them out completely).
Pop your veggies and chicken back to the pot and use a food blender to turn your soup into a cream.
Add fresh ground pepper and stir well.
Chop your pork belly up into small bite sized cubes.
Serve the soup in a bowl with the small pork belly chunks and a spoonful of the earlier cooked rice.