Way back in 1998, when I was really starting to get my feet wet in the kitchen, I watched Mr. James Barber on the CBC network here in Canada. Mr. Barber's show, The Urban Peasant, was one of my favourites, and he inspired me to experiment more in the kitchen. With Mr. Barber's carefree spirit he would hardly measure a thing and really encouraged his viewers to not worry when cooking for people. He stated, "Worry spoils more dinners than any other ingredient." I couldn't agree more. He made a tomato and tarragon soup and called it his "worry-free soup." This is my dedication to him. Thank you Mr. Barber!

This recipe is adapted and modified from James Barber's Worry-free soup recipe featured in the TV Guide on August 15, 1998.

Makes 4 bowls
Preheat the oven to 425 Degrees F.


  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced into quarters
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried tarragon
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • fresh basil leaves, shredded

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Take a deep casserole baking dish, add in the sliced tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and the garlic cloves. Drizzle in the 3 tbsp of olive oil and season the tomatoes with dried tarragon, salt and pepper. Coat all of the tomatoes with the oil and seasoning and put it into the oven for about 30 minutes.

2. In a medium sized saucepan, pour in the 1-1/2 cup of chicken stock, add in the chopped green onions and gently simmer to incorporate the onion flavour into the stock. Do this step when there is about 10 minutes left of roasting the tomatoes.

3. Take the tomatoes out of the oven and pour it into the chicken stock mixture. In either a food processor or a blender pour in the tomatoes and stock mixture and puree the soup.

4. Pour the soup back into the pot and gently simmer the soup for a few minutes. While the soup is heating through, start to shred the fresh basil leaves. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle the shredded basil and serve immediately with a warm crusty garlic bread.

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