Hearty Tomato Soup
Soups and I have a strong connection from as long as I can remember. When I was young we would mostly have Chicken stew at home, which is basically a warm hearty soup with lots of winter vegetables thrown in with chicken in bones. My old man would cook it once every week and the entire family enjoyed it. He would say that bones have a crucial job in adding flavour. Once I grew up and discovered the maestros of cooking I realized how well my father knows about food since a good stock is crucial for good soups as suggested by all good cooks from all over the world.
The other kind of soup we would relish were those delicious Chinese soups. Calcutta has an old Chinatown. In fact some good folks from China settled in the 1700s and have ever since been serving exquisite Chinese food . Sadly most of these eating joints are closing down.
Anyway coming back to the soup of the day, the first time I tasted this tangy throat warming soup was on the Rajdhani Express Train when I was 10 years old. Rajdhani is one of the best rains in India connecting different cities to the capital. I loved it.
My mother wasn't much of a cook , rather she didn't like spending her time in the kitchen so she would constantly buy these packaged Knorr soups which I quite honestly relished till I realized how much more healthy and delicious it is to make these soups the traditional way.
The first time I tried my hands on Tomato soup was somewhere in the winters of 2003. I was 14 years old going on 15 and the year was coming to an end and I decided to make it. Well it was not the best one and over the years I have tried various recipes of this one humble and lip smacking soup, sometimes with carrots and beetroots added in , sometimes with leek and carrot , sometimes with celery and I finally decided to try a recipe where I mostly stay true to this plump and delicious fruit.
Now before I begin I have to say what stays constant and is a major flavour giver is the stock. It just wouldn't taste the same without it.
Anyway so here is the perfect tomato soup for me :-
Makes 3 to 4 servings
600gm plump red tomatoes which you shall blanch
1.5 litre of homemade stock of your choice (I usually use chicken)
Salt as per taste
1 tbsp butter
1/2 a large chopped leek
1 large clove of minced garlic
1 tsp freshly group white pepper
Cream for serving (optional)
If you want a spicy touch instead of the optional cream you may add chili oil
Blanch and skin the tomatoes and chop them well. Now heat the butter till it foams and add the leek and garlic and saute till they fill your kitchen with their aroma but take care to not brown them. Now add the tomatoes and cook till it for 5 minutes and add 800ml of the stock and let it come to a boil and add salt and simmer covered for 5 minutes. Now simply let it cool down and blend to a smooth puree. Get the puree back to the pot and add the remaining stock and bring to a slow boil while stirring it constantly and simmer for 5 minutes and serve it if you are having this on a normal day with a drizzle of chili oil or some cream.
In case you are serving it for a formal dinner or for guests strain the tomato soup once done and bring toa slow boil and immediately serve it with added cream.