The chill of autumn has definitely settled in Amsterdam. On my way home from school today, I was craving a bowl of warm soup. I strolled through my local shop and it struck me that I haven’t had tomato soup in ages! The season for fresh tomatoes has long passed, so I grabbed two cans of crushed organic tomatoes and headed home to fill a pot with tomatoey goodness. And because I do like a creamy soup, I added the decadence of creamed cashews to make the dish rich in protein. A handful of fresh basil and thyme leaves brought that splash of Italy to my table. So here you go, my version of a creamy tomato soup with smoked garlic. I hope you like it as much as I do!
P.S. It’s not imperative that you use smoked garlic. I happened to have some on hand from my organic market and it seemed to fit the bill for this pot of goodness.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
- 2-3 cloves of smoked garlic, minced
- 2 x 400 gram cans of crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 6-8 leaves of fresh basil
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
- 250 ml hot, boiled water to add to the soup base
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in another cup of hot, boiled water, for a minimum of 1 hour, then drained
- 250 ml water, to make the cashew cream
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish, if you wish
- Salt and pepper to taste
On a medium flame, heat the oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot and gently sweat the shallots, celery and carrot for 4 – 5 minutes. Add the garlic and give it a stir for another minute.
Next, add the two cans of crushed tomatoes, along with the maple syrup, lower the heat, and bubble away for 8-10 minutes. Tear in the fresh basil and thyme, and add 250 mls of hot, boiled water. Bring this to the boil and bubble away for another 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and allow it to sit while you incorporate the cashew cream.
Drain the cashews and give them a quick rinse. Place the cashews in your blender and add one cup of water. Blend this to form a creamy texture and add one ladle full of the tomato soup base; blend until incorporated. Carefully scoop in the rest of the heated tomato mixture, and blend on high to bring it to the state of a creamy soup (about 45 seconds or so of blending.)
Pour this mixture back in the pot and re-heat it. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with fresh thyme leaves and salt and pepper to taste.