This time of year, those of us who live in the northern hemisphere are not quite as fortunate as those who live in the southern hemisphere; I’m referring to being able to source the best produce, of course. Personally, I think tomatoes are the greatest disappointment by far (next to strawberries). More often than not, I bite into a tomato and taste nothing. Nadda. Mealy. Pasty. Nothing. This time of year, I tend to gravitate toward the best canned tomatoes, knowing that they were picked and packed at their prime. But somehow, when it comes to using the humble tomato as the main ingredient, the STAR as it were, I feel that canned just wouldn’t cut it and alternative measures must be taken.
Some of you who have been on this journey with kitcheninspirations will recall that I posted a rant and a solution about unseasonal tomatoes a few years ago (4 to be exact) and todays post is about a great use for those oven-dried tomatoes. Oven drying is a long procedure but well worth it, particularly because there is little to no effort involved. Just a few clicks on the hydro metre and you’re almost all the way to a delicious tomato recipe.
Roasted Tomato Soup
Serves 4-5 150-175 mL servings
- 1 kg (2.2 lbs) tomatoes ~ this doesn’t have to be precise (I used vine ripened)
- 500 mL to 1 L chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- 6 cloves of garlic, roasted
- 2 tbsp olive oil (or chicken stock stock)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 4 tbsp goats cheese, at room temperature
- 4 tsp unflavoured yogurt
- Pre-heat oven to 250° F (121° C).
- Remove all loose skin from each garlic clove, leaving the tight skin on. Place the cloves into a small ramekin and add about 2 tbsp olive oil and some sea salt. Cover with foil wrap and tuck into the corner of the oven. If you prefer not to bake the garlic at the same time as the tomatoes, you may roast the garlic in a 350° F (177° C) oven for 40-45 minutes or until soft.
- Wash and slice the tomatoes into thirds (believe me, the tomatoes lose a lot of water in the dehydration process so you must leave them THICK). Place cut side down on some paper towel for about a minute.
- Rub a cooling rack with a lightly oiled paper towel and place directly over a baking sheet (to catch any drippings).
- Arrange the tomatoes cut-side up on the prepared cooling rack and place in the centre of the pre heated oven. “Bake” for 4-5 hours until most of the moisture has been eliminated from the tomato.
- Once dehydrated, add all of the tomatoes and the roasted garlic (skin removed), baking soda into a heat-proof bowl and slowly add the stock. Blitz with the immersion (stick) blender until smooth, adding more chicken stock until the desired consistency has been achieved. Season with salt as desired.
- Push through a fine sieve and blitz once more for added creaminess.
- Combine the goats cheese and the yogurt and whip until fluffy. Set aside for serving.
- When ready to serve, heat the soup through and add a dollop of the goats cheese and yogurt into the centre. Serve piping hot.
- The addition of baking soda came from JT, he uses this trick in his delicious Chicken Cacciatore to quell the acidity of the tomatoes. It really brings out the tomatoes’ sweetness — try it instead of adding sugar!
- I whipped the goats cheese with yogurt to make it easier to melt into the soup, we swirled it in and it was delicious.