Fresh Tomato Soup
3 lbs of sun ripened tomatoes
1 2/3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons of tomato puree or tomato sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar [omit sugar completely or use an artificial substitute if desired]
Fresh chopped basil leaves (about a handful)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Wash the tomatoes and place them in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over them and leave for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds drain the boiling water and add a little cold water to cool. This process makes it easy to peel the skin.
Peel the skin off all tomatoes and cut each tomato into quarters. Place the tomatoes in a large pan and pour the chicken or vegetable stock over tomatoes. Bring to a boil and quickly reduce heat to low. Simmer gently for approximately 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree, vinegar, sugar and chopped basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer gently while stirring for a further 2 minutes.
Let soup cool slightly and then transfer to a food processor or blender and process or blend until smooth. Transfer the soup back to the pan and reheat gently taking care not to boil.
Serve in warm bowls and top with a little cr?me fraiche and croutons if desired.