Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Roasted Tomato and Thyme Soup

roasted tomato soup

In all honesty, much baking hasn’t been done in the past few weeks. There was a lemon drizzle cake, some cookies, and a few other things, but that’s about it. Days have become busier, and fall is slowly beginning to settle in.

At the very moment that I write this, I sit with a cup of tea, and a notepad filled with notes for this post. Outside, rain collects in small puddles on the cobblestone walkway, clusters of friends gather under umbrellas and walk briskly to class. Some are running to class, and some are walking slowly- balancing an umbrella in one hand, and in the other, a large Starbucks cup.

roasted tomatoes, onions, & garlic

It was like this last month. For an entire week, it rained. That week, if I remember correctly, was followed by a warm week- it wasn’t severe, but it did require the air conditioner to be turned on. After that, Hurricane Irene followed.

During the hurricane, all I could think about was the moment I made a this soup for myself, which I had made during the first week of much needed rain. I was home alone, we had a somewhat significant amount of tomatoes waiting to be used up, and the depressing grey clouds that covered the sky made me long for a bit of color in my day.

roasted goodness in the blender

After a few moments of thinking what to do with the tomatoes, I preheated the oven, pulled a baking tray and cutting board out of the cupboard, and began chopping and slicing at onions, a small head of garlic, and the crimson red tomatoes. Everything was mixed on the baking tray with some olive oil (not extra-virgin), a spoonful of sugar- to help caramelize and bring out the sweetness of the red fruit, some salt & pepper and thyme- to accentuate and heighten the flavor.

roasted tomato soup

The mixture was heated on a low flame with slug of cream and some chicken stock; meanwhile, a cast-iron skillet was heated, a generous slice cut from a loaf of fresh sourdough, and was toasted in the pan with butter. Once toasted, fresh mozzarella was torn and veiled over the toasted bread. The pan of cheese-covered bread was put under the broiler until the edges of the bread reached a fine line of golden & burnt, and the melted cheese was golden brown and bubbly.

roasted tomato soup

The warm soup was tasted for seasoning and then ladled into my favorite enamel bowl, and the cheese-covered bread was bedecked with chives and set to float on top of the sunset colored soup. Quickly, I sat down, grabbed a spoon and cut into a corner of the crisp bread, making sure to get enough mozzarella, chives, and soup in one spoonful. The soup was creamy, velvety, sweet. The fresh chives added cleanliness; the soup had a slight smoky note from the roasted garlic. And the bread covered in fresh mozzarella that floated in the middle of the bowl completed the entire dish.

Roasted Tomato and Thyme Soup
Adapted and Inspired by various sources
Makes 2 Servings, or enough for one hungry person.

This soup tastes like a sexied-up version of this roasted tomato sauce that I shared with you last year. This recipe makes enough for about 2 servings, but I’d definitely double, triple, or quadruple the recipe, if need be. I only say this because two helpings wasn’t enough for me that day; I had to make more later. It’s that good.

1 ½lbs / 680g Ripe tomatoes (whatever you’ve on hand; I used plum & cherry), halved
1 medium-sized peeled Red onion or Cipollini onion, quartered
1 small head of Garlic, or four regular sized garlic cloves (skin on), top cut off
½ tablespoon Fresh thyme leaves (from about 3 springs) or ½ teaspoons dry thyme
1 teaspoon Natural Cane Sugar
Fine Grain Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil (not extra-virgin)

½ cup / 4oz / 85ml Chicken / Vegetable Stock (optional)
2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)

To serve:
Generous slice of fresh artisanal bread
Unsalted butter, room temperature
Fresh Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375F / 190C / Gas Mark 5.

Spread the cut tomatoes, onion, garlic, and thyme on a baking tray or roasting tin (if you’re double/tripling/ quadrupling the recipe, use a roasting tin). Sprinkle with sugar, and season to taste with salt & pepper.

Coat with olive oil, and roast in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until the tomatoes are about half their size, wrinkly, and some of the juices are caramelized on the bottom of the pan.

Tip the tomatoes and onions into a blender or food processor. Squeeze the contents out of the garlic bulb, and mash with the back of a fork, add to the tomatoes and onions. Pulse until smooth.

You can stop here if the soup is thin enough for your liking. If not, pour the rust red mixture into a large sauce pan, and thin the mixture with the stock and heavy cream. Heat the mixture on medium heat, until bubbly and warm.

Serve with toasted bread or mozzarella cheese-topped bread (preparation below)

Prepare the Cheese-Topped Bread
Heat a cast-iron (or oven-safe) pan on medium heat. Butter both sides of the bread, and toast the bread until golden brown. Top with fresh mozzarella, and put pan under broiler for a couple minutes until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Float on top of hot soup. Enjoy!

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  • Jeff
    September 6th, 2011

    That soup would probably calm me down after any storm! It looks so delicious!

  • leaf (the indolent cook)
    September 6th, 2011

    Love the simple, rustic flavours. Delicious!

  • Nutmeg Nanny
    September 6th, 2011

    Such a delicious looking soup! I love the cheesy bread on top…I would devour that in no time!

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food
    September 6th, 2011

    I’ll go for “enough for one hungry person”

  • Louisa [Living Lou]
    September 6th, 2011

    Wow, this soup sounds delicious. My mom and I love tomato soup and thyme is one of my favourite herbs, can’t wait to make this. Thanks for the recipe, and as always, accompanied by a beautiful narrative.

  • Zita
    September 7th, 2011

    I love roasted tomatoes. It is a very easy recipe, a real comforting food. BTW, great photos!

    kamran replied:

    Zita- thanks so much!

  • Patricia Scarpin
    September 7th, 2011

    It’s great to know you’re fine after the hurricane. I always think of my fellow American bloggers when I hear the news (I live in Brazil).
    This soup is amazing, I love tomato soup but have never tried it with the cheesy toast on top. I definitely will once summer comes my way.

  • Suzanne
    September 7th, 2011

    This soup looks wonderful and full of flavor.

  • Goolsat Atem
    September 7th, 2011

    I just found your site through your great bagel recipe. i’ll be making this tomorrow. We have a lot of different colored tomatoes, do you think that the soup will turn a different color than from the one you pictured in the post? Thanks.

    kamran replied:

    Goolsat- It definitely might turn out to be a different color if you’re using several colored tomatoes(I used all red tomatoes), but it will still taste just as great.

  • Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen
    September 7th, 2011

    Good heavens…it’s 95 degrees today in LA and all I want is this bowl of soup with that piece of cheesy bread on top. Beautiful photos, per usual!

    kamran replied:

    Adrianna- why thank you! I don’t blame you, I wouldn’t even turn down a bowl of this stuff during 95 degree weather!

  • David
    September 7th, 2011

    Another awesome post Kamran. The inclusion of your feet in the first shot was inspired. Kudos for keeping it real.

    kamran replied:

    David- thanks!

  • Kalyn
    September 7th, 2011

    It sounds very warm and comforting. So glad you were okay in the hurricane; what a nightmare.

    kamran replied:

    Kalyn- I actually was going to talk more about the hurricane, but I wanted to spare you all of the boring details. Everything in our refrigerator spoiled from the electricity being out for a couple days… There’s just so much more, but I won’t complain, as others were hit worse than we were.

  • amy @ we are never full
    September 7th, 2011

    fabulous – it really is getting to be full-time soup season. i always begin craving soup and stew season by the end of august. we make a garlic soup with a cheese crouton on it too. it just brings it up to the next level. very lovely!

    kamran replied:

    amy- I agree, the bread really brings it up to the next level.

  • Jen
    September 7th, 2011

    I made a similar soup recently. Tomato soup is my ultimate comfort food.

  • Helene
    September 8th, 2011

    We are getting colder days and I am back in the kitchen baking and cooking. Will start making soups again. Fresh tomatoes are at all markets now and this soup sounds like a tasty one. Love your pics :)

  • Prerna@IndianSimmer
    September 8th, 2011

    That second photograph just made me crave for some tomato soup with TONS of garlic in it! Its been a crazy crazy month for me too, have no idea where the whole month just flew by and took summer with it too. Its fall already?!

  • For The Love Of Food | Healthy Eating Tips - Upgrade Your Healthstyle | Summer Tomato
    September 9th, 2011

    […] roasted tomato and thyme soup <<A beautiful looking recipe, though I would personally leave out the sugar since tomatoes are so sweet right now. (the sophisticated gourmet) […]

  • chuck cotton
    September 9th, 2011

    this looks good and I’m not much of a tomato soup guy. my wife is though, so I’ll give it a try.

  • thelittleloaf
    September 9th, 2011

    I adore roasted tomatoes – in soup, on pizza, in salads…and roasted garlic? Yum! Beautiful photos too.

  • Cathy @What Would Cathy Eat?
    September 9th, 2011

    How funny, I just posted a VERY similar roasted tomato soup! Except no delicious cheesy bread with mine :)

  • --kyleen--
    September 11th, 2011

    I’m not a big fan of tomatoes, but even I think this soup looks amazing. It must be the thyme and bread and cheese (: Beautiful pictures.

  • Melissa
    September 11th, 2011

    I used to hate tomato soup until I made my own from garden tomatoes. Now I love it… as long as its homemade! Love the melted mozzarella on bread. Going to try that next time.

  • Rachel
    September 11th, 2011

    I am trying it tonight! I do have one burning question … why do you specify not extra-virgin olive oil?

    kamran replied:

    Hi Rachel- great question! For one- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (normally) won’t be able to withstand the heat of the oven, and the beautiful fruity flavors of the oil will be damaged, as a result. Save your good extra-virgin olive oil for dressing salads, making vinaigrettes, for topping on cooked vegetables, etc (You want the olive oil to be as good as the ingredients- so if you’re using powerful things like chilies, etc, you’re not going to taste the extra-virgin olive oil. If you’ve good extra-virgin olive oil, it will have a very unique taste depending on where the olive oil comes from). If you’re going to cook / roast something with olive oil, just use the regular stuff as it has a higher smoking point compared to that of any virgin or extra-virgin olive oil. :)

  • Lena
    September 12th, 2011

    I made this soup today. even though it is rather hot today. It was delicious, and the apartment smelled great. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Russell van Kraayenburg
    September 13th, 2011

    Oh my gosh the title of this recipe wrangled me right in. Tomato soup takes me right back to being a baby–well young at least–and I have a special place in my heart for thyme. I must have walked past your window as you wrote this… fumbling with my pretentious sbux and umbrella : /

    As always, delicious shots and the recipe sounds wonderful!

  • Karen (Back Road Journal)
    September 14th, 2011

    What a delicious looking soup. My counters are loaded with tomatoes now and your recipe sounds like a perfect way to use some of them.

  • Barry C. Parsons
    September 14th, 2011

    Sarah Gim, the owner of Tastespotting.com said in an interview that she disliked hands in food photos. I wonder what she’d make of your feet? LOL!

  • tasteofbeirut
    September 19th, 2011

    This soup is after my own heart and stomach! Love that whole head of garlic, just what I would want with that tomato flavor and of course, the crowning pleasure of eating that cheesy toast on top, that’s happiness!

    kamran replied:


  • pily
    September 22nd, 2011

    I made this soup and is wonderfull!!! thank´s for de recipe! :D

  • Isabel @ Pretty Tasty Things
    September 28th, 2011

    So incredibly simple to do with a minimal amount of ingredients. Nice addition of the bread with cheese!

  • Wewing
    December 29th, 2011

    Be careful to not buy acidic tomatoes, as I mistakenly did. They had some tomatoes on special, and I think in this case a little extra dollar spent on the right pick is crucial. Perhaps it is my lack of knowledge in what tomatoes should be used in what, but if you are going to do this recipe I highly recommend you use the same tomatoes as stated here… unless you know your tomatoes well of course.

    I ended up needing a bit of baking soda to bring down the acidity, and had to add extra sugar… overall, I was disappointed with myself, and my bland soup. I’m sure the recipe works well with the right tomatoes.

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    […] the kids anyway.  But I have wanted to make a better tomato soup.  Two sites: Honey and Jam and The Sophisticated Gourmet both have great recipes (oddly enough they both published them on the same day back in September […]

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    August 11th, 2012

    […] Roasted Tomato Thyme Soup – I came across this recipe last fall on a chilly, damp day. Most of the ingredients came from my garden. The picture alone of the soup with the toasted cheese bread floating on top was enough to win me over. With this method of making soup you really do not heat up your kitchen!  If you want to read more about thyme, go to this link. […]

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  • Colleen
    September 23rd, 2012

    Thank you for this recipe. You have a wonderful website! I just made this soup about an hour ago and it is just wonderful my sister and dad love it!! I will be making this often!

  • Jess
    October 3rd, 2013

    Hi there! Thanks for the amazing soup. I took a picture here… I also adapted it quite a bit… adding a LOT more thyme and later in the recipe… I found that the juice from the tomatoes dulled down the thyme while roasting … and some chili and basil were nice touches! :) :)


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  • Joy
    May 26th, 2015

    I cannot tell you the effect it had on me to see your post and notice that your feet are in the picture : ) Brilliant! So visceral.
    …and I want to make the soup

  • Joy
    May 26th, 2015

    …I have ordered your book. Can’t wait now

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