A soup to celebrate the seasonal harvest
The perfect summer soup and a great way to use up a glut of tomatoes (should you be so lucky) or to celebrate the seasonal harvest. The buckwheat makes the soup altogether more substantial, adding protein and fibre, potentially turning a starter into a nutritious lunch.
1kg ripe tomatoes, any tasty variety will do
2 onions, cut into segments, skin removed
4 cloves garlic, skin on
6 sprigs of thyme
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 sun-dried tomatoes
500ml water or vegetable stock
150g green buckwheat
A small bunch of chives, finely chopped
A splash of extra virgin olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Slice the larger tomatoes in half. Cherry tomatoes can be left whole.
Place the tomatoes with the onions and garlic in a roasting tray (lined with greaseproof paper for an easier job clearing up). Top with the thyme sprigs, the oil, vinegar and a little salt and pepper.
Roast for 45 mins, removing the cloves of garlic once soft—about 20 mins.
While the tomatoes are in the oven you can cook the buckwheat. I like to toast the grains in a dry pan until they smell nutty before giving them a good rinse (this is meant to reduce the phytic acid present too, enabling you to absorb more nutrients from your food). Now boil the buckwheat in double its volume of lightly salted water until it becomes tender—about 15-20 mins.
Once the tomatoes and onions have softened and begun to caramelise you can remove the thyme sprigs and set aside, then blend everything, skins and all, along with pan juices (I find the paper comes in handy here as you can just fold it and tip any last bits in). Throw in the sweet purée from the garlic cloves and the sun-dried tomatoes.
Tip the soup, along with 500ml water or vegetable stock, into a saucepan (if the tomatoes are well flavoured I find there’s plenty of flavour without adding stock). When ready to eat, heat up the soup to a gentle simmer.
Strain the buckwheat and add to the soup, and season well with salt and a good grinding of black pepper.
Ladle into bowls and then sprinkle the leaves from the thyme sprigs over the soup, along with plenty of chives and a splash of olive oil.
Recipe: Jenny Chandler