This tomato soup recipe is the perfect combination of naughty and nice - it's packed with vegetables but laced with a dash of sherry.
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 celery sticks, chopped
200g/7oz carrots, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 large sprig fresh thyme
750g/1½lb ripe plum or vine-ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ tsp sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
200ml/7fl oz passata
500ml/17fl oz vegetable stock
100ml/3½fl oz single cream
splash dry sherry
crusty bread and butter, to serve
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion for 5-6 minutes over a gentle heat until almost softened but not browned. Add the garlic, celery, carrots, bay leaf and thyme and cook for a further 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, making sure the vegetables don't stick to the base of the pan.
Add the chopped tomatoes and sugar and season well with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes, then stir in the passata and vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 35-40 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender.
Remove the bay leaf and thyme, then blend the soup in a liquidizer or food processor. This will probably have to be done in two batches. Pour the soup into a clean saucepan, passing it through a sieve if you want it really smooth. Stir in the cream, a splash of sherry and extra seasoning if required.
Pour into large mugs or bowls and serve with fresh crusty buttered bread.
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