There’s something very Christmassy about a deep red bowl of tomato soup, especially when it has a dollop of creme fraiche and a scattering of fresh green herbs. (Actually, the girls wouldn’t agree with that – Christmas is all about chocolate and baked goods (preferably involving chocolate) for them.
This recipe for winter tomato soup comes from my friend Sheila, who clipped it from the San Francisco Chronicle in the 1960s. I was surprised both by the quantity of butter, and the lack of stock.
It reminded me of Marcella Hazan’s famous tomato sauce, and I wondered how soup-like the final result would be, especially after simmering for 45 minutes. I needn’t have worried. While thick and rich, it was most definitely a soup, and the vermouth added a lovely depth of flavour.
Winter tomato soup
(serves 2 generously)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup butter
- 800g (28 oz) tin whole plum tomatoes
- 1/2 cup vermouth or dry white wine
- 1 Tb sugar
- 1 Tb fresh dill, minced
- salt and pepper
- creme fraiche to serve
- In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and sauté the onion until golden.
- Add the tomatoes, along with their juice, breaking them up with a wooden spoon.
- Add the vermouth, sugar and cilantro and bring to the boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer the soup for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the soup from the heat and allow to cool a bit before puréeing it.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.