magenta soup with roast tomatoes

Lindsey Bareham

This fabulous thick, creamy soup is almost worth making just for its rich magenta colour and fluffy, light texture. The flavour, though, is the point; an intense amalgam of sweet/sour tomatoes and earthy sweet beetroot. Serve it plain, the flavours tuned with lemon and a hint of Tabasco, or add a scoop of sour cream and freshly snipped chives just before serving.

serves 4, prep 20 min, cook 45 min

14 vine tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
A bunch of even-sized beetroot
1 lemon
500ml chicken stock

Turn the oven to 180C/gas 4. Halve the tomatoes round their middles if round, lengthways if plum shaped. Arrange them cut side up on a foil-lined shallow, heavy roasting tin. Smear the cut surfaces with olive oil and place them in the oven immediately. Bake for 45 min, checking after 30; you want the tomatoes squashy.

Meanwhile, scrub and boil the beets, covered, in salted water for 30-40 min until tender to the point of a knife. Drain, swipe away the skin (I wear Marigolds for this), chop and tip into the bowl of food processor. Add the tomatoes and their juices, a generous squeeze of lemon and half the stock. Blitz until completely smooth, wiping down the insides of the bowl as necessary. Pass the soup through a sieve into a saucepan, forcing through with a spatula, scraping underneath so nothing is wasted. Reheat, adjust the seasoning with lemon juice, salt and a splash of Tabasco, adding sufficient stock so the soup is thick and creamy.