In the last week Calcutta suddenly had a message from Winter, saying that it would soon come knocking on the doors. The weather was perfectly cool, the kind which makes you want to take long walks. While coming back form my usual morning walk I made a stop at New market and the bring colours overwhelmed me. There were blood red bell peppers and beautiful round tomatoes. The smell of fresh basil intoxicated me and so I came back with my treasures.
It was a cool day and I was suddenly craving for some warmth and the idea of a creamy tomato soup was just irresistible. Making ti from scratch requires a little bit of time but the reward is too great. So off I went with 6 large sized plump tomatoes to be blanched. Some recipes require the tomatoes to not be blanched but for a greater amount of smoothness it is advisable that one blanches them.
I will admit to a ironic fact that even though I am born in a humid and hot country the summers somehow seem intolerable to me. So come winters and I am energized, happy and excited and could not stop humming in the kitchen.
I very well remember my first encounter with tomato soup long long long ago on one of the trains and what I still remember or perhaps I imagine that I remember is the impeccably dressed server on a train handing the cup of soup to me. It was a pure delight. Now that I know the taste of those packaged soups I have no idea why it caught my fancy but then I grew up and realized how easy it is to make a creamy delightful soup with the most basic ingredients.
So I went armed in the kitchen with :
6 Plump tomatoes
8 cloves of garlic
Water for blanching
1 Bay leaf
pinch of nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
Butter / Olive oil
Chiken or vegetable stock
So you start off by blanching the tomatoes. Making a cross at the back of the tomatoes makes peeling off the skin very easy. Once cool peel them and chop them roughly.
Press the garlic with the flat of the knives and then saute your pressed garlic , add the onions , chopped carrots bay leaf and finally the tomatoes , salt , nutmeg and pepper and simmer them for about 20 minutes.
Once cool blend away . Blending the piece sof carrot with a bit of water ensures better smoothness. Add about 200ml of stock or water but the stock has its added taste and bring top a boil and simmer for another 15 minutes or till creamy and thick as per your liking.
You can serve it with little squares of bread, but instead of frying them you can just stove toast them by adding a bit of butter on a flat pan and keeping it on low flame till they are golden brown. Serve with chopped parsley.
Add the pieces right before serving else it becomes a soggy mass. Its so colourful that it would surely even cheer up the grumpy the Grinch who stole Christmas