I was an incredibly fussy eater when I was a child…like really fussy. Two things I was always guaranteed to eat was Heinz cream of tomato soup (the one and only soup that I would eat) and my mum's homemade macaroni and cheese. (A friends mum once tried to serve me macaroni and cheese from a box but no way was I eating that alien neon smelling powdered weirdness! Not for me thanks!) Occasionally my mum would make attempts to blend in her homemade soup or cooked vegetables into the tomato soup but I could tell instantly and my suspicious stare, penetrating questions and refusal to eat it would result in a confession.
I'm not so fussy now and I haven't had cream of tomato soup in years but with the last few weeks of wind and rain and generally November type weather I had a hankering for some comfort food and tomato soup it was. It ended up being a mish mash of a variety of recipes but in the end it captured the essence of a cream of tomato soup but, you know, a bit more complex in flavour.
3 small onions thinly sliced
1/4 tsp allspice
splash of sherry
squeeze of tomato puree
can of tomatoes (plus 1/2 to whole can water)
tsp of vegetable stock powder
Handful of cashew nuts
Saute the onion in oil until soft and add the allspice then the sherry and let that cook off. Squeeze in the tomato puree, stir and let it cook for a minute. Throw in everything else (yes, including the cashews) and simmer until reduced a bit and all the flavours have come together (maybe 20 minutes or so). Blend until creamy.
My processor isn't the best so sometimes I blend the cashews with water in a spice grinder before adding them if I want it completely smooth but I'm not overly fussed these days about a bit of texture. The sherry adds another layer to the flavours without overpowering anything and the cashews also add a sweetness. As classically tomato soup contains sugar the cashews mean that none need be added. I got the idea for the cashews from this delicious tomato soup and since then I tend to use cashews for creaminess rather than the processed soya creams. Works a treat.