Tomato soup isn’t comfort food. It’s an edible doona in front of an open fire. High on valium. And spooning. It’s August of course, but even in the middle of Winter Brisbane doesn’t tend to get very cold, at least in theory. This afternoon, I needed some comfort.
I buggered my knee a month or so ago you see; running too hard and too fast up and down the hill next to the Story Bridge. I’d been resting it and thought the ligament would have healed by now so with the mercury hitting 26 and the sun high in the sky, I left the house for a run at about 2.30pm. I was running down to New Farm Park (to where my new house is) and back to Spring Hill (where the G/F is). It’s a gorgeous jogging route down past the old World War II shelters and the mansions on the river, but pretty much smack bang on the half way mark the searing pain came back and I could barely walk. There’s a ferry back at least, but by the time the City Cat pulled back in to Eagle Street Pier at 4pm, the sun had disappeared behind the CBD highrises, the breeze was up on the river and my face was blue. Winter had lost its shyness.
I’d made a giant batch of tomato soup yesterday, as a part of ‘operation no wisdom teeth in G/F’s mouth’ but she couldn’t even get the spoon past her teeth, so it was still sitting there in the fridge, untouched save for some samples I’d stolen to make gazpacho for dinner last night and relish for breakfast this morning. I was starving and there were icicles hanging from my testicles, so I considered eating it cold, but some of the missing wisdom must have found its way to my mouth and I ladled it into a small saucepan, threw the oven on and baked some frozen rolls leftover from shit-hot dogs. It may well have been the best thing I’ve eaten this week.
The recipe is straight from Maggie’s Harvest (page 159 if you’re playing at home), but I embellished a little. Sour cream, cheese and chives are the kind of condiments you get at a sub-par steakhouse, but on this ridiculously simple, home style soup, they’re suddenly very classy. Watching bits of bread crust fly around the room as you swamp them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar is kind of fun too.
- 8-10 Very ripe, but diceable roma tomatoes, diced
- 5 large onions, diced as small as you can go without shaving your fingers
- 1/3 cup olive oil (the better, the better)
- 5 garlic cloves, squashed with your knife and then diced
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1/2 cup verjuice (that’s how you can tell it’s a Maggie Beer recipe) – use dry white wine if you don’t have any
- 1 litre of boiling water
- Crusty old white rolls/thick bread
- Sour Cream
- Cheese (anything firm and yellow will do)
- Olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip the bread into
- Remove the tomato cores and dice them into pieces about the size of your little toe
- Add the oil to the pan and cook the onions until they’re starting to go brown, but not burning
- Add the garlic and salt, cook until the garlic is doing its thing
- Add the tomatoes and sugar and get things a little mushy
- Add the water and verjuice
- Simmer for 45 mins
- Put it in the fridge for a day
- Re-heat on the stove
- Serve in bowls, sprinked with diced chives, a dollop of sour cream and grated cheese
- Warm the bread in the oven so it’s nice and brittle, but still fluffy inside
- Dip bread into healthy doses of oil and vinegar and make a mess
- Get comfortable
A merlot or a dark ale