I know it's been ages, but let's just lightly skim over that, shall we, and move straight to this soup? Now, I'd kinda promised myself that I wouldn't blog until I could take a decent photo of my food, but since that has yet to happen (and believe it, I have tried... you should look at the memory on my husbands camera), that hasn't happened yet. So while I've been cooking away like a mad lady, I've not been sharing, and that is starting to feel mean!
|Source: flickr creative commons|
So I thought I'd atone for this mean non-sharing streak with this soup. With the colder weather creeping in, and even warm days turning into chilly evenings, my thoughts turn more and more to soup. I've been buying veg at the Earth Fair Market in St Georges Mall on Thursdays, and when I spied some lovely bags of tomatoes for cheap, I bought 2 and planned on this soup. Days passed, and we had some 30 degree days... Not ideal for soup, no, and I planned on a gazpacho instead. But thank heaven, the weather turned back, and autumn crept up on us again. This hearty, tangy, tomatoey soup is full of wonderful antioxidants and vitamins from the soup, and contains almost no fat! There's no cream, the blended barley provides all of the thickening, so as long as you use a good quality, low salt stock, and good quality olive oil, you can eat buckets of this heart-warming soup!
Tomatoes are roasted with garlic until soft and fragrant, then blended with cooked barley, and fresh basil for a hearty but fresh taste. The garlic goes all soft and nutty when it's roasted, and the tomatoes come out sweet and wonderful. Since the soup uses no cream or meat (if you use veg stock), this can be both vegan and vegetarian friendly!
Roasted Tomato, Garlic and Barley Soup
7-10 tomatoes (I used a mix of ordinary and plum tomatoes)
3-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and quartered
A mix of herbs for sprinkling (origanum, italian herbs, greek herbs, or other preferred herb)
olive oil for roasting
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
115g (1 tin) tomato paste
1.5 litres chicken stock
250 (1 cup) dry pearl barley
2-4 tbsp ketchup (optional, but increases the tomatoey flavour)
salt and pepper to taste
Handful of fresh basil, removed from stalks.
- Preheat the oven t0 180 degrees C.
- Pop the barley into a pot, and cook in the hot chicken stock for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Halve the tomatoes, and cut out the stalk. Place skin side down in a roasting dish. Place the quartered garlic in among the tomato halves in the roasting dish.
- Sprinkle with herbs of your choice - feel free to add chilli, if you'd like that zing now, or add to the soup later, and sprinkle with olive oil.
- Pop into the heated oven, and roast for about 30 minutes, or until soft, turning about half way through. Tomatoes are done when they are soft, and the garlic should be too. Blackened bits are nice, but don't let them burn.
- When it goes into the oven, slice an onion, and dice a carrot, and fry in a big pot on the stove. Fry on a medium heat until the onion is translucent, and soft, and the carrot is mostly cooked.
- When the tomatoes are finished, empty the whole roasting dish, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and everything into the pot with the onions, and squash with a spoon. Add the tomato paste, and stir through.
- Once the barley is cooked, drain off some of the liquid into a jug, in case you need to add it back to the soup, and add the barley to the soup, and heat through, ensuring everything is mixed well, then add the basil.
- Remove from the heat, and blend using a stick blender, or transfer to a blender, but be careful of the hot soup spraying out. I blend to a rough consistency
- Return to the pot and heat, and heat through. Taste for seasoning, and add the ketchup if necessary, and salt and pepper to taste. Add some chilli if it makes you happy, or any other spices and herbs you like with tomato. If the soup is too thick, or you've added too much spice, use the reserved barley stock to thin it out, or dilute the heat a bit. Barley is very thickening, especially once it's blended!