Tomato soup with chilli vodka
FOR THE VODKA
- 4 scary-hot habanero chillies, split
- 1 bottle vodka
FOR THE SOUP
- 4 celery sticks
- 4 small carrots
- 2 large onions
- 1 hot chilli
- 6 cloves garlic
- 50g(2oz) butter
- 5 tins premium chopped tomatoes (Italian brands such as Napolina are the best. Don’t be snooty about usingthese; Italian canned tomatoes are super-ripe and picked at their peak)
- 1.5 litres (21⁄2 pints) chicken or
- vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
About a week before you want to make the soup start by adding 4 split scary-hot habanero chillies to each bottle of vodka. It will be quite powerful after only a couple of days if that’s all the time you’ve got, but even better if you hang on for a week.
Now go out and buy a hand blender – the most powerful you can find. Our restaurant blender is a two-hander job that turns lobster shells into soup and looks like an outboard motor, but a good one-hander machine will suffice.
Finely chop all the vegetables except the tomatoes and sweat them in a big pan with the butter for 10 minutes or so. This allows them to soften and the flavours to come out – very important.
Add the stock and the tinned tomatoes. (If you have a greenhouse full of ripe tomatoes then use them by all means, just add them, chopped, to the vegetables earlier on.)
Then simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Whizz the soup up until fully blended, then pass it through a normal sieve to remove any pips or nasty bits.
Season well and transfer to a warmed thermos.
Add as much chilli vodka to each mug as is seemly and enjoy.
More smashing soup recipes: