Soup de tat: The Marketing department soup challenge
So a while back our department got our hands on a lovely prize: a hardcover adult edition box set of JK Rowlings Harry Potter series. It is beautiful. It is magnificent, and I knew it was going to be mine. ALL MINE!!!!
Then they had to complicate matters. It seems that I wasnt the only person who felt like that, and as a result we had to work for it.
The challenge: Soup
Every Monday until the end of August one person in the department will have the opportunity to dazzle us with their liquidized creations. For bonus points, you can bring a super bread.
I started scouring the internet for recipes. I needed a soup to rule all soups. I needed a soup to outstrip all other soups. I needed to stage a Soup de tat!
One Sunday evening while lounging on my best friends’ couch and wondering what we’re going to razzle up for supper (I think we just came back from a weekend trip) he had the brilliant idea to roast baby tomatoes with balsamic vinegar and herbs, then, when the tomatoes were done, roast some fennel bulbs in the leftover juices. We ended up putting the tomatoes on some giant brown mushrooms, smothering them in a smoked cheddar cheese and garlic and baking them ’til they were cooked. We had the fennel as a side. It was simply put one of the best meals I have ever had.
Then I had an idea. If the tomatoes and fennel worked so great together roasted, how would they work in a soup? I found this amazing recipe on a website called Formerchef.com for a slow roasted tomato and fennel soup. I simply knew that I have struck gold. But the recipe lacked a bit in terms of my own taste. I needed to zazz it up, but not by much.
2kg whole fresh baby tomatoes
3 sprigs of thyme
2 large fennel bulbs (about 750g)
2 large yellow onions
4 celery stalks
6 cloves garlic
3 red bell peppers
3 sprigs of thyme
12 cups water
3 stalks of celery
3 fennel stalks (with tops)
2 Bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 sprig of oregano
300g sundried tomatoes
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
4 tsp kosher salt
1 tbs Brown sugar
2 oz plain yogurt or sour cream for garnish
Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celcius.
Quarter the fennel bulb and remove the stem/base end.
Cut the celery in half, peel the carrots and cut the ends off. Cut the carrots in half. Peel the onion, cut the ends
off and cut into quarters. Peel the garlic cloves and quarter and de-seed the peppers.
Toss the fennel, celery, carrots, onion, peppers and garlic with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and place on a sheet pan with the thyme.
Put the tomatoes in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place on a separate sheet pan with the thyme and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sugar.
Put all the ingredients for the stock into a large pot and bring to simmer. Simmer for as long as the vegetables are roasting. Drain and top up with water if needed.
Put all the vegetables into a large soup pot and add 12 cups of the stock (6 if you like thicker, more intense soups, like I do) and the sundried tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes break apart and the firmer vegetables get soft.
Garnish with yogurt/sour cream and a sprinkle of smoked paprika and or fennel tops.