This soup is extremely popular in our household, and one of the first recipes I learned off by heart. Probably closer to minestrone than tomato, It’s thick and hearty, guaranteed to fill you up. Instead of pasta, as in a typical minestrone, this soup has a handful of rice thrown in the beginning which swells up to thicken the liquid and give it some body. You could use lentils instead, if you prefer. This is a chunky, broth-like soup rather than being smooth and silky, and although I like to cut all the vegetables to a nice uniform shape and size, you can cut them any old way and be as rustic as you like. As with many soups, the quality of this one comes down to the stock. I will usually make this soup after cooking a joint of smoked gammon or bacon, using the delicious salty liquid as the meaty backbone for my tomatoey broth. I highly advise this, if not then some nice vegetable stock is an acceptable alternative. This soup is best enjoyed with freshly baked bread and butter. As for us, we were treated to Dad’s crusty baguettes, still piping hot from the oven

Mum's Tomato Soup Recipe


  • ½ teaspoons dried thyme
  • 30 g basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 6 rashers streaky bacon
  • 2 onions
  • 3 sticks celery
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 litres smoked ham stock, or vegetable stock
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 handful basil leaves, or parsley leaves
  • ½ teaspoons dried oregano


  1. Cut the bacon into lardons and, in a large pot, fry until crispy. Meanwhile, cut the carrot, onion and celery into 5mm dice, and peel and finely chop the garlic. Once the bacon is nice and caramelised, add the onion, garlic and celery. Turn the heat down and sweat gently for 15 minutes, until the onions are soft and dark. Add the basmati rice, carrots, thyme and oregano and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Now add the tomatoes, the tomato purée and the stock. Bring to the boil then simmer gently for 30 minutes. Finish with some torn or chopped basil leaves, then and serve with fresh crusty bread.