Gazpacho – Spanish Chilled Tomato Soup

It is officially the end of Summer in Sydney. However, this doesn’t mean no more hot days or ripe tomatoes. Why not extend the feeling of summer by cooking this refreshing Gazpacho for an evening meal? For an even better experience, serve it in your backyard or on your balcony. I also recommend this recipe for dinner parties as it caters for vegans, and gluten, nut and dairy allergies.

The quality of the vegetable stock used has a strong influence on the final flavour. If you decide to use pre-made vegetable stock, you can always improve its flavour by re-cooking it, for 30 minutes or so, with herbs and spices such as fresh parsley, bay leave, fresh thyme and black peppercorns.

This soup needs to be served very chilled, so allow for plenty of cooling time. Don’t hesitate to prepare it one day ahead.

Recipe

Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes (for the stock)
Chilling Time: 2 hour minimum
Serves: 4

Ingredients for the soup:

  • 14 medium-size tomatoes*
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small red onion
  • 600ml of good vegetable stock
  • 2 red or yellow capsicums
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for the stock:

  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 4 celery stalks leaves included, coarsely chopped
  • 2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 2tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 litre cold water

Step 1 – Prepare the stock: Heat the oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Once hot, add the chopped celery, carrot and onion. Stir occasionally until the onion becomes translucent. Then add the herbs, pepper and cold water. Bring to a boil first and then turn the heat down to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes*. Strain the stock through a sieve above a heatproof bowl. Discard the vegetables left in the sieve and let the stock cool down at room temperature. You should end up with about 600ml of stock.

Step 2 – Roast the capsicum: Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees for 5 minutes. Place the whole capsicums in an oven-proof dish on the middle rack of the oven and cook for 25 minutes. Transfer them into a bowl and cover them with plastic wrap. The steam will help lift the skin.

Step 3 – Prepare the tomatoes: Peel and seed the tomatoes*, and roughly cut 12 of them into chunks. Reserve the last 2 tomatoes.

Step 4 – Blend the tomatoes, onion and garlic: Place the chunks of tomato into a bowl with the onion and garlic clove roughly chopped. Blend to the desired consistency:

Step 5 – Add the vegetable stock: Add stock to the tomato mixture until the desired thickness is reached. You might not use all of the stock*. I recommend you taste the soup as you add the stock so as to know when you are satisfied with the taste and consistency. At this stage, you might want to add salt and pepper.

Step 6 – Chill the soup: Refrigerate the soup for a couple of hours minimum.

Step 7 – Prepare the garnishes:
7.1 – Peel, seed and dice the roasted capsicums. Transfer into a small bowl and add a table spoon of olive oil.
7.2 – Seed and dice the 2 remaining tomatoes. Transfer into a small bowl and add a table spoon of olive oil.
7.3 – Wash and dice the cucumber. Transfer into a small bowl and add a table spoon of olive oil.

Step 8 – Serve: Right before serving, take the gazpacho out of the fridge and serve in deep plates. I usually place the garnishes on the table and let my guests help themselves. Providing my guests aren’t vegetarian or gluten intolerant, I like to serve it with a toast of Serrano ham. 

Wine Match

Enjoy with a Rosé de Provence or any other dry, Grenache based Rosé.

*Did you Know?

  • Tomatoes, originating from South America, are technically fruits. There are more than a 1000 varieties of tomatoes.
  • Tomatoes are one of the best known source of anti-oxidants. They are rich in potassium, lycopene, vitamines C and A.
  • To peel tomatoes, cut a cross through the skin of the base of the tomato and immerse in boiling water for 30 seconds. Rinse in cold water and the skin will come off easily.
  • To seed a tomato, cut it into quarters and remove the seeds with your fingers.
  • Research has shown that, past 1 hour of cooking time, vegetable stocks stop improving in flavour and might even deteriorate.
  • If you do not use all of the stock, you can freeze it for up to three months in a plastic container.
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