A deliciously comforting tomato soup to take you back to your childhood...
There's nothing like a bowl of tasty tomato soup to comfort you on a cold day. It floods the house with delicious smells too, as it cooks. If you want to be really indulgent, you can't beat having a toasted cheese sandwich on the side!
I made this so my daughter could enjoy it too, as she is on a gluten free, lactose free diet (you could make it dairy free too, by using appropriate 'milk', e.g. rice, oat or nut milk, or and extra 500ml of stock - although we are avoiding oats for her as well - if you do this and cut out or substitute the honey, you can make it vegan too) - but if you're not restricted in your diet, there's nothing stopping you from adding a splash of cream at the end to make it ultra-indulgent!
If you'd rather avoid potatoes, you could substitute sweet potato or squash instead (although maybe don't add any kind of additional sweetener until after you've tasted it for seasoning). As we're a family of four, I do tend to cook in large quantities so we'll enjoy this two days on the trot then freeze the rest in portions - but you don't need to make this much if you don't want to - it's very easy to just make half the quantity.
Yields: approximately 4.5 to 5 litres; 16 servings (approximately two ladlefuls for a serving) - easily halved!
Calories: 101 calories per serving.
[Calories in square brackets]
- 2 x 15ml tbsp light / mild olive oil 
- 2 onions (200g) 
- 2 sticks celery (180g) 
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 4 medium carrots (350g) 
- 3-4 medium floury potatoes (500g) 
- 1 x 15ml tbsp paprika (the mild/sweet variety) 
- 2-3 cloves garlic 
- 3 vegetable stock cubes (Knorr are gluten free and dairy free at the time of writing) 
- 4 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes 
- 500g passata / sugo (sieved tomatoes) 
- 100g double concentrate tomato puree 
- Pinch ground cloves (1/8 tsp, optional) 
- 2 tbsp honey (optional, or use sweetener of choice) 
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar (red or white wine vinegar are fine too) 
- Large handful fresh basil leaves (optional) 
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda (if using dairy milk)
- 500ml whole milk (of choice - I used lactose free, you could use rice or nut milk etc.) 
- Salt and pepper to taste 
- Large pan (or two, to hold up to 6 litres) or pressure cooker
- Food processor (optional, to chop vegetables and blend soup) or stick blender
1. Peel onions, carrots, potatoes and garlic. Chop onions and celery into large chunks (quarters) and pulse into a fine dice in a food processor - so it's roughly the size of sweetcorn kernels / peas (Thermomix 2 seconds / Speed 5).
2. Add oil to large pan(s) over a medium heat [Instant Pot: Put on saute mode], and add the chopped onion and celery, and bay leaves, stirring until the onion becomes translucent. Meanwhile cut the carrots into large chunks (inch lengths), then pulse in food processor until finely chopped (Thermomix 3 seconds / Speed 5). Add to pan, and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes.
3. While carrots are cooking, cut potatoes into chunks (e.g. quarter them, so inch and a half cubes) and pulse in food processor until small dice (Thermomix 3 seconds / Speed 5). Boil the kettle and stir the paprika into the vegetable mixture into the pan for a minute.
4. Add 1 litre of boiling water to the pan, and the potatoes and the other ingredients down to and including the vinegar (don't add the basil, bicarb or milk yet) with a good grinding of pepper. [Instant Pot: Then turn off saute mode, put the lid on in the sealed position, and set to high pressure for 15 minutes; then natural release and go to stage 6].
5. Bring up to a simmer, then cover to stop splashes and cook for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
6. Remove the bay leaves, and add the basil leaves, if using, then carefully blend the mixture until smooth - you can either do this with a stick blender, or you can carefully ladle the mixture into your food processor / blender and blend in batches (do not exceed the maximum recommended amount). (Thermomix blend each batch for 1 minute 30 seconds / Speed 6, turning up dial slowly. If you want it smoother, you can increase the speed).
7. If using dairy milk, mix the sodium bicarbonate with a couple of spoonfuls of milk in a jug first, until smooth, then stir the rest of the milk in, and then pour into the soup whilst stirring until evenly mixed. The bicarb is to stop the milk curdling when you add it to the soup - try not to boil after adding the milk.Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper to taste (you can even add a little more sweetness if you think it needs it - I only added a pinch of salt to mine). If you're OK with lactose / dairy, you could add a swirl of cream and garnish with a few small basil leaves, or some toasted croutons - even better, serve with toasted cheese sandwiches to dip in, and enjoy!