Thursday, 14 February 2013

Something Different: Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Apologies for the lack of posting this month - I know we always say life's really busy but LIFE'S REALLY BUSY. This should make up for it though.

Every Friday afternoon Jamie and I go into Egham for soup and tea at what we call 'Bar-Divisible-By-Three' to celebrate the end of the week and get into the general Friday-feeling. A few weeks ago I got excited by the prospect of 'roasted red pepper and tomato soup', but when we went to order we were told the cafe had run out. The soup we got was awesome but I couldn't stop thinking about the one that got away... so I made my own. Because stubborn is my middle name.

 You will need:
- 2 onions                                                      - 600ml water  
- 2 sticks of celery                                         - 300ml double cream            
- 1 large clove garlic                                     - 1tbsp red pesto
- 4 large red peppers                                     - 2 handfuls fresh curly parsley  
- 10 cherry tomatoes                                     - plenty of salt and pepper     
- 1x 500ml stock pot, or 2 Oxo cubes                                 

What to do:
1. De-seed and quarter the peppers, then place into a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle over some salt and pepper, then stir it all up so they're coated. Place into an oven preheated to 220°C, and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so so they don't burn. After 20 minutes, add the tomatoes too. This can be done in advance.
2. Roughly chop the onions, celery and garlic and throw into a stock pot (or any big pan) along with a knob of butter and some olive oil. Cook on a medium temperature for 10-15 minutes, until soft.
3. Add the peppers and tomatoes to the pot, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Lots of recipes tell you to take the skins off the peppers, and you can, but leaving them on gives the soup more texture as well as being healthier. Add the pesto, water, stock, and cream (or you could use milk for a healthier alternative) and mix.
4. Bring to a gentle boil, then put on a lid and simmer for half an hour, stirring occasionally.
5. Using a hand blender/food processor/a sieve and lots of determination, blitz the soup. You can obviously make it as smooth as you like, but I think it's best if it's not done too much so you get the textures still. Chop your parsley and add that in, then season to taste.

To give it an extra bit of awesome, while you're on stage 4 and it's simmering away, chop a few slices of bread into cubes along with some sun-dried tomatoes (or a few chopped cherry ones) and put into the baking dish the peppers were roasted in. To this, add a bit more salt and pepper, and if you have it some garlic/basil/nicely flavoured olive oil (normal olive oil is fine), then stir to coat and stick in the oven at 180°C. You need to stir this every 10 minutes or so to make sure they crisp evenly, and after about 20-30 minutes you should have some fancy homemade croutons to go along with your soup.

Voila. Super simple, and super tasty. 

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