My mum is an amazing cook and I was incredibly lucky to grow up in a house where the meals were fresh, healthy and full of love. But I have a secret: I longed for the nights when she would announce that we were having tinned tomato soup for dinner. It was usually winter, a cold Sunday night and everyone was tired. It was my favourite and she always made it just right - not just pouring it into the pot but adding a bit of milk and stirring it tenderly until it was time to fight my brother for who got the larger portion.
Anyway, I have since learned that tinned tomato soup is not something I want to eat. No matter how delicious and how fond my memories, tinned soup is full of things that don't need to be there and that aren't beneficial to our bodies. So began my quest to find the perfect soup recipe!
After months of toiling away selflessly in the kitchen (ha!), I think I've done it - perfected the humble tomato soup. This soup has a beautiful, rich tomato flavour and a good amount of spice to warm you up on those cold days. The lentils add protein which keeps you full and the capsicum adds a really nice depth to the flavour. Full of lycopene, the tomatoes are positively bursting with antioxidants to keep you fit and well during the coldest and most illness-prone time of the year.
I am on a personal quest to make tomato soup just as popular as it's pumpkin, potato and leek, and minestrone counterparts - join me!
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1kg, or about 10 tomatoes, quartered (I use ordinary field tomatoes but you can pick whichever you like best)
1 red capsicum, de-seeded and quartered
1 red onion, quartered
1 red chilli (optional)
5 cloves garlic
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup red lentils
Preheat your oven to 180 Celsius.
Place the tomatoes, capsicum, garlic, onion and chilli (if using) in baking trays, top with the thyme. Pour the olive oil and red wine vinegar over the top and give it a shake to make sure everything is
coated. Pop the trays into the oven and roast for approx. 20-30 minutes.
Once you have removed the now-roasted vegetables from the oven, place everything (including the pan juices) into a large saucepan. Add the stock, lentils and put a high heat under the pan. Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once the lentils are cooked, turn the heat off and allow to soup to cool slightly before using a stick blender to blend the soup into a creamy consistency.