I know my last recipe was also soup, so apologies for the repetition. I cannot hide my love for this simple yet filling and wholesome method of eating veggies. There are so many possibilities, and crafting soup recipes is an all star method for learning herb and spice pairings. Plus home made soups are a great way to be made aware of how crazily salty commercial and even some restaurant preparations can be.
I am an avid fan of dill, a herb that I think is quite under-rated in that it seems almost exclusively paired with fish in the eyes of many. An old-fashioned idea at best I think, for dill is quite versatile if you are willing to experiment (try it in a dish heavily influenced by ginger).
People argue about the inclusion of sugar in tomato-based sauces and dishes, many claiming it's a useless waste and others swearing by its ability to enhance the tomato flavour. Me? I'm somewhere in the middle and I believe the use of sugar (or in this case agave nectar) has to be considered with each tomato. If they are overly acidic from a tin, the sugar really helps to balance the flavour, and a pinch goes a long way to enhance what should already be a naturally sweet fruit. Finding the perfect balance of salt and sugar will make for a glorious sauce.
I used beer in the recipe because I like the deep yeasty flavour (my excuse for "it was right next to the hob so I figured I'd bung it in"), but a white wine or a low-salt vegetable stock would also suffice.
The use of herbs is something, in my opinion, with which a cook can always play around. I've used basil, oregano, and marjoram in the recipe, but any mix of italian herbs would I'm sure produce an acceptable end result.
Note in the recipe I added the dill both in the blending process and before serving. This is because the flavour of dill has a habit of being quickly lost in heat (unless used in larger quantities), so it's important to add it close to the end so the flavour remains present.
The cream I used was Alpro single cream, but any will do. This isn't a necessary ingredient, but makes for a smoother soup on the table.
Creamy Tomato and Dill Soup (Vegan)
- Sweat the celery, onion, and carrot in the olive oil for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic at this point and cook a further minute or so until fragrant before. Pour the beer in and continue to stir until most of it has cooked in and evaporated (a couple of minutes) before adding the tomato paste, tinned tomato, and water.
- Stir in the herbs and salt to taste, along with the agave nectar, and leave covered to simmer over a low heat for 20-30 minutes.
- Remove from the hob/stovetop and allow to cool for a little while before blending to a smooth soup. During the blending process add half of the dill.
- Return the soup to the burner and heat over a low heat until ready to serve. About 5 minutes before serving, add the remainder of the dill and also the cream, if using.