Tomato soup

Tomato soup

Best Kitchen Basics
Petrina Tinslay

This is a dish to make in full summer when tomatoes are abundant, cheap and very ripe. You can make it with tinned tomatoes or passata but you may be in gross danger of missing the point. Grow your own, visit the markets, cook. Get out of the supermarket cycle. No one is so ‘time poor’ that they can’t find time to cook a simple soup. The process delivers far more than the sum of its ingredients. It is good for the soul.


Quantity Ingredient
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
100ml olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1kg ripe cooking tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
2 basil leaves
1 sprig marjoram
1 sprig oregano
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground star anise
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
3 teaspoons potato starch


  1. In a large saucepan over medium–high heat, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until lightly golden. Add the chilli, cook a little more, then add the tomatoes.
  2. Tie the herbs into a small bundle with butcher’s string and then add them to the pan. Add the salt, sugar, star anise and pepper. Stir well and cover the pan with a lid. Cook on a low simmer for 1½ hours.
  3. Remove the herbs. Leave the soup to cool, then blend it to a fine purée with a hand-held blender.
  4. Using the back of a ladle, pass the soup through a very fine sieve into a clean saucepan over medium heat.
  5. Mix the potato starch with 2 tablespoons water and add this slurry to the soup. Stir the soup until it thickens. Adjust the seasoning if required.


  • Processing very hot soup in a blender can cause a steam ‘explosion’. Be warned!
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