Pairing tomatoes and oranges for a scrumptious soup

Seasons come and seasons go, and with each one we are treated to a distinctive set of tantalizing flavours. On cold blustery winter Sundays we all enjoy a hot, hearty meal of roast or a rich stew or casserole to keep us warm and cosy inside. Spring has us tasting the first tingly fruit flavours of a new year  and sampling some of the delicate vegetable tastes of that early season. Summer with its vibrant colours and straight-out-of-the-garden salad flavours always delights our palates. These carry us through to fall, and the time of great harvests.

I got a little carried away with tomatoes in the garden this year (mental note for 2013, not so many plants), so much so that I have made all my chutneys and my pasta sauces, all ready for the lasagna or cannelloni meals ahead. With an ample amount of tomatoes still on hand, I decided to indulge the gang at the office with a twist on tomato soup, that twist being the tangy flavour of orange wrapped in the warmth of a strong tomato base. Wow! Hearty to say the least!

This luscious dish is easy to prepare. Invite your friends over: there will be plenty to go around.

6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large onion
1 carrot
3 sticks celery
4 pounds tomatoes
2 quarts chicken stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper (ground)
½  tsp baking soda
2 oranges (rind of one orange,    juice of two)
1 cup half and half cream

Melt the butter in a large pot;  peel and chop onion, carrot and celery. Place in the pot and simmer gently. When the onion is clear, add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then add the remaining ingredients, except the cream.   Simmer for about an hour, then remove from heat.

Two options here. You can either add the cream and, using a blender, blend the ingredients to a pulp-like consistency, giving a heavy texture to the soup. Serve with croutons and garnish with fresh parsley.

Or you can proceed as above, but after blending pour the soup through a colander and then sieve to give a consommé-type substance. Then garnish with croutons and fresh parsley.

This could be served as a lunch or an appetizer over fresh, warm French bread.

Originally published in Lifestyles55.

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