What’s cooking today: Red pepper & tomato soup
A bright and cheery soup for a chilly day, this broth is finished with coconut cream for a bit of luxury and has a hint of basil for extra freshness.
Roasting vegetables before making a soup lends richness to the finished product and considerably more flavour than it would have if the tomatoes, onion, peppers and garlic were not roasted first.
The garlic becomes a gooey sauce inside the husks while they cook in the oven, as long as you use nice plump cloves; thin garlic cloves risk drying out in the heat.
5 large ripe tomatoes, halved
2 very large or 3 large red peppers, cores cut out
1 large red onion, halved
6 to 8 garlic cloves, in their husks
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 large white onion, chopped
2 or 3 orange sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
1 litre tomato juice
1 x 400 g can chopped tomatoes
1 litre vegetable stock
2 Tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp sugar
1 x 400 g can coconut cream
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste
A handful basil leaves, torn
Torn basil leaves for garnish
Preheat the oven to 220℃.
Core the peppers (cut around the root part and pull them out). Halve the tomatoes.
Oil a heavy oven pan and place the halved tomatoes, whole peppers, halved red onion and the whole garlic cloves in their husks in it. Pour olive oil over the tomatoes and peppers, spoon the red wine vinegar over, and sprinkle black pepper on. Place in the oven and roast uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour.
Oil the bottom of a heavy soup pot and put it on a low heat. Add the chopped onion and simmer, stirring, until the onions take on a pale golden hue. Add the grated sweet potatoes and cook, stirring, for two minutes.
Heat the vegetable stock. Pour the tomato juice into a jug, add the contents of the can of chopped tomatoes, and squeeze the contents of the garlic husks into it.
When the oven vegetables are done, let them cool until you can handle them and then chop the red onion (first remove skin) and add to the soup pot. Slip the skins off the tomatoes and discard them. Chop the tomatoes and red peppers roughly, removing any seeds that you spot. Add everything to the soup pot.
Pour two ladles of the hot stock into the oven dish to deglaze it and then pour that into the soup pot. Pour the vegetable stock and tomato juice mixture into the soup pot and add the balsamic vinegar, chilli powder and sugar. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring now and then. Add the handful of torn basil leaves and cook for a minute.
Use a hand held blender to process the soup until smooth.
Add the can of coconut cream, return to a simmer and continue cooking gently until the soup thickens.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Serve in soup bowls with torn basil leaves for garnish. DM/TGIFood
Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here.
Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots. For more information, click here.
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