This roasted red pepper and tomato soup really hits the spot on those cold winter nights. Spiced with cumin and smoked paprika (spanish: pimentón), it also has well-known medicinal properties (cumin helps treat the common cold while paprika has a high vitamin c content). Paprika develops its flavours best when cooked with onions or shallots, but make sure to add it to the preparation away from the heat or with liquid so the sugars don’t caramelise and impair the flavour. Garnish with some of the extra roasted red peppers and chopped parsley, and, serve with some crusty olive bread for a delicious and nutritious winter warmer!
Roasted Red Pepper and Spiced Tomato Soup (Serves 3-4)
easy tomato sauce using 16 tomatoes on the vine, concasse (peeled, de-seeded and chopped into small cubes) or 2 cans whole tomatoes
3 red peppers
6 sprigs parsley, roughly chopped
3 large echalion shallots, diced
1 garlic clove, unpeeled, crushed and made into garlic paste with a bit of salt and your knife
250 ml vegetable stock
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper
1 tsp butter
- Prepare easy tomato sauce using the concasse tomatoes and the garlic paste. Set aside.**If using canned tomatoes, you will add them in step 3.** Bring vegetable stock to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, place the red peppers on a baking sheet and roast at 240 degrees C for 30-40 min or until wrinkled and charred, turning them twice while roasting. If you have a gas hob, you can do this directly on the flame by placing the red peppers sidewise and rotating them as they become charred and wrinkled. Once sufficiently roasted, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 15 min. When cool enough to handle, use paper towels to wipe off the charred skins, remove the seeds and stems and cut into strips. reserve 3-4 per bowl of soup for garnish and roughly chop the rest. Set aside.
- In a sauté pan on medium heat, gently fry the chopped shallots in 1 tsp of butter and a drizzle of olive oil until translucent (5-7 min). Away from the heat, add in the herbs, cumin, paprika and chopped roasted red pepper and season with salt and pepper. Deglaze with a ladle of the vegetable stock and let cook altogether for another 10 min to infuse the flavours together. **If using canned tomatoes, use a larger sauté pan and add them here**
- When the tomato sauce and the shallot, red pepper, herbs and spice mixture have been cooked down, pour them into a large bowl and blitz using a hand blender, adding more vegetable stock as necessary for the desired thickness (If using a blender, be careful with hot liquids!) Adjust the seasonings and serve garnished with chopped parsley, the reserved roasted red pepper strips and a drizzle of fresh olive oil.