Souped up

Chilly weather is no match for these hearty bowls of home-cooked comfort

Souped up

Smoked tomato soup with herb oil

Serves 4

Ingredients
For the soup
1 kg roma tomatoes
2–3 tbsp olive oil
1–2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
8 rooibos tea bags, tea leaves extracted
and bags discarded
1 cup rice
2 tbsp brown sugar
1–2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Small string of vine tomatoes, to serve
French baguette, to serve

For the herb oil
½ cup olive oil
2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp fresh origanum leaves
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves
2 tsp lemon zest
3 black peppercorns

Method
For the soup
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2. Slice the roma tomatoes lengthways and cover with olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Line a deep roasting tray with foil and scatter the rooibos tea leaves, rice and sugar evenly over it.
4. Place a roasting rack in the tray. Make a large foil boat by folding up the sides of another piece of foil. Arrange the tomatoes in the boat and place on the rack. Make sure you don’t block the surface of the rack completely, allowing the smoke to circulate.
5. Cover the roasting tray with another layer of foil to seal it.
6. Place the tray on a gas flame at a high heat and allow the tomatoes to smoke for 10 minutes, then place in the preheated oven to smoke for a further 20 minutes.
7. Remove the roma tomatoes from the oven and blend with the stock until smooth. Season to taste and pour into bowls.
8. Lightly char the vine tomatoes in a hot pan with a little olive oil. Drizzle the soup with herb oil and top with charred tomatoes. Serve with baguette.

For the herb oil
1. Pulse the oil, fresh herbs, lemon zest and peppercorns together in a food processor until well combined.
2. Season to taste.

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Creamy potato soup with Parmesan and bacon crumbs

Serves 4

Ingredients
250g streaky bacon
3 tbsp butter
2 onions, peeled and sliced
1 kg potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp thyme, chopped
1.5ℓ chicken stock
1 cup cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
50g Parmesan, to serve
Potato crisps, to serve
Choice of herb, to serve (we used purple basil)

Method
1. Fry the bacon in a non-stick pan until very crispy. Strain off the fat and set bacon aside.
2. Heat the butter and bacon fat in a large saucepan. Add the onions and sauté for about 10 minutes, until soft.
3. Add the potatoes, garlic and thyme, and sauté for another five minutes.
4. Add the stock and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked.
6. Add the cream, bring to a simmer and blend until smooth.
7. Season to taste. If the soup is too thick, thin it down with some extra stock.
8. Roughly crumble the Parmesan and finely chop the bacon. Mix well.
9. Serve the soup with a scattering of bacon and Parmesan crumbs and a handful of potato crisps.

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French onion soup with cheese toast

Serves 4

Ingredients
For the soup
¼ cup butter
8 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 cup white wine
1 tbsp flour
1ℓ beef stock
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the cheese toast
6–8 slices of sourdough, cut into soldiers
1 cup finely grated mature Cheddar

Method
For the soup
1. Melt the butter in a large pan and gently sauté the onions, garlic and thyme over medium heat for 20–30 minutes, until the onions are lightly caramelised.
2. Add the wine, then turn up the heat and allow the wine to evaporate and the onions to caramelise further.
3. Stir the flour through the onions.
4. Pour the stock over the onion mixture, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the soup has thickened. Pour into bowls and season to taste. Serve with cheese toast.

For the cheese toast
1. Preheat the oven’s grill.
2. Sprinkle the cheese over the bread soldiers. Grill until the cheese has melted.

Recipes & styling: Anna Carolina Alberts; Photography: Andreas Eiselen/HSMimages.co.za
June/July 2016

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