Tomato Gin Soup
October 15, 2009
The sign on the tomato stand at Trout Lake Farmer’s Market proclaimed “The end is near”. I was surprised to see tomatoes the other weekend, it’s so chilly out. So I bought a (final?) bagful of Sungold’s to eat and a lot of ripe Cascades to make soup with. This soup isn’t really made with gin, it has juniper berries in it. They make tomato soup taste brighter, and somehow fresher. This is a cozy dish to make with those last tomatoes of the year.
Makes about 4 cups/1 litre
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
about 3 pounds of ripe, end of season tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons juniper berries
3 stems fresh basil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onions and sweat. Add garlic, cook briefly, about two minutes – until it smells really fragrant. Okay, that’s good. Now toss in your juicy, messy, slaughtered tomatoes with the juniper berries and basil. You may as well add the salt and pepper now, too. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about half an hour, tomatoes will bubble cheerily in their own brick-red broth. Remove from heat and let cool for a bit, discard basil. I ran my tomato soup through a food mill, but if you don’t have one you can blend and strain your soup. Return to pot and heat. Taste for seasoning and add another pinch of sea salt and a little more pepper, if you like. Curl up with a steamy mug of warm tomato soup and a good book.
If you want a great gin, and not just juniper berries, some friends of ours make the gorgeous Victoria Gin on Vancouver Island. It is made with juniper and ten other ingredients and botanicals.