What's It All About—
This blog began as a side project when we opened Nook Eatery in 2009. In September 2012 we sold Nook, and sadly it now no longer exists. We have a new blog (see A Good Place to Gather). As always we remain inspired by the ingredients we use and the food we cook. This site remains purely as an archive of our three years at Nook Eatery and the recipes I created.
This isn’t so much a soup recipe, but rather my favourite oven-roasted tomato sauce that I simply blitz up. Or don’t blitz! It’s just as good “chunky”. It is the easiest recipe as everything is cooked together in the oven. As a sauce it goes brilliantly with meatballs and polenta.
recipe adapted from Thomas Kellers Bouchon Cookbook
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium onions
1 large leek (the white and pale green parts only)
2 large fennel bulbs
1 tablespoon minced garlic, and an extra teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tins whole peeled plum tomatos (NOT KOO or ALLGOLD, only imported Italian varieties)
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of thyme
freshly ground black pepper
1. In Bouchon they require the onions, leek and fennel to be finely chopped. I speed up this step by throwing everything into a food processor. Start with the leeks and process until minced. Place in a medium size saucepan. Process the onions and fennel until chopped. Add these to the leeks with the oil. Cook over a medium to low heat until tender and beginning to caramelize.
2. Stir in the brown sugar and vinegar, and return to the stove, cooking until the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat.
3. Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes. Coarsely chop half the tomatoes. Puree the other half with the juice in a food processor.
4. Add the tomatoes to the vegetables in a Dutch Oven or oven-proof baking dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add the herbs and extra garlic, then place in a preheated 180°C oven for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. The sauce should be thick and have a full rich flavour. If it looks too thin, return to the oven and cook until thickened.
5. Discard the herbs. If not using straight away, let the sauce cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, for up to 1 week.
Serve with thickly sliced bread topped with cheese and placed under the grill (or in our case, the wood-fired oven).