There are few things more soothing in life than making soup. Well, there’s baking, and scraping the bowl, but that’s not a habit to recommend to fellow human beans. So I’ll stick to the soup.
One of the reasons I love this soup so much is that the colour practically zings off the bowl. It’s also remarkably amenable to being adapted to whatever is in your fridge. Plus, it’s so yummy that myself, the Other Half and our lovely wedding photographer who was here to discuss finer details of The Day, ate all of it.
Including the portion meant for lunch on Saturday.
And I forgot to take a photograph of it before we tucked into it. So you’ll just have to imagine the deep red glory which it turned out to be.
- Red peppers of varying shapes and sizes
- 2 tins of chopped tomatoes (or plum if you prefer)
- Any tomatoes you need to use up from the bottom of the fridge
- 1-2 onions, depending on size and mood you’re in
- 2-3 cloves garlic, depending on size and mood you’re in
- Olive oil
- Any Mediterranean-ish herbs you like. I used Greek Oregano.
Preheat oven to 170°C.
Deseed and slice pepper into broad strips – about 1½ inches works well. Mark a cross on the bottom of any whole tomatoes you’re using, to allow the skins to split during cooking. Place in a roasting tin or on a baking tray, and drizzle with olive oil. Add herbs if you wish, a couple of twists of black pepper and a pinch of salt sprinkled over.
Pop in the oven until they look like this, which takes about 45 minutes. Once they are out of the oven, cover with a piece of foil, wrapping it tightly over the top of the pan. This will ‘encourage’ the skins to peel away easily. Put to one side to cool.
Meanwhile, roughly chop your onions and garlic, then sauté in a large pan over a low heat until they look like this.
As you can see, I used up some red onion I found befriending my peppers in the vegetable drawer. This takes about 15 – 20 minutes, be patient, it’s worth it!
Then pop in your tins of tomatoes, a cup of water and allow to simmer until your peppers and tomatoes are ready. I’ve not gone American on you, I merely used a cup because it was near to me, and clean. You could just as easily fill one of the empty tomato tins and pour it in. You can add more later if you wish to thin the soup down a little. Add a splash of balsamic if you wish.
When your peppers and tomatoes have cooled down enough to handle, peel them. This is much easier than it sounds – the peppers will literally fall away from their skins if you so much as shout ‘BOO’ at them. If that method doesn’t work, it’s time to get messy. Pick up each piece of pepper and pinch the skin where you can see it is loose. Pull it away and it will peel off relatively easily. You can then just work your way down the rest of the piece of pepper – it’ll come off in strips. Or you can hold the top of the pepper piece in one hand and ‘squeeze’ the charred flesh off with the other. Which is kind of fun.
You can also squeeze the centre of the tomatoes out into the soup. Discard all the skins.
Simmer together for 5 minutes, then blitz using a hand blender. Don’t get it completely smooth, it’s nice to have a bit of texture in there.
Use your imagination to picture a bowl of soup here. I’m out of inspiration cos my head is all taken up with wedding stuff.
Serve in warm bowls, with bread to dunk. Try to resist eating entire panful.
- Add bacon / ham / pancetta once the onions are cooked
- Add cannellini beans to the tomato and onion mix and simmer as normal
- Use yellow peppers and tomatoes if you want a more orange soup