How about a big, warming bowl of lightly spiced, roasted red pepper & tomato soup. Served with gooey, crunchy, cheesy pesto toasts for dunking, it’s like a warm, comforting hug. In a bowl.
So I’ll admit it – although I know it’s probably not the popular vote – I’m so looking forward to the start of autumn (and then, to follow, my most favourite season ever, winter – yippee!)
Okay, calming down now…
I don’t know if it’s just because we’ve had two days of solid rain. Or if it’s simply a reaction to my inability to think of anything creative to do with zucchini. Whatever the reason?
I’m craving soup. Soup, and more soup.
I love to see a big pot of soup, simmering away on the hob – I find it comforting. The aroma that fills the kitchen as it gently bubbles. The flavours concentrating and melding together as it slowly cooks.
It just calls to me.
I think soup could definitely be considered one of those dishes that becomes more than the sum of its parts.
It’s a great way to sneak a load of extra hidden veggies into your family’s diet without them even realising. It’s simple to make, and so versatile ← my kind of kitchen word! – serve it as a starter, a light lunch, or amp it up with the addition of pasta or meat (or pasta and meat!)
For this recipe, I’ve combined one of my all-time favourite vegetables – juicy red bell peppers – with a hearty dose of tomatoes and some warming spices to make a gorgeously ruby-red rich soup, packed with veggies, and just a gentle hint of spice.
Doesn’t this just make you long for autumn?
For ease of making (and clearing out the cupboard!) I used a jar of roasted red peppers. If you prefer though, you could certainly use bell peppers you’ve roasted yourself, here is a link to a number of different methods!
I’ve also used cartons (or use tins) of chopped tomatoes as I’ve not found a reliable source for good quality, fresh tomatoes around here ← I really need to find a farm shop … or some friendly neighbours with huge gardens…
The bonus of keeping a well stocked store-cupboard (and spice-rack!) along with a supply of basic veg in the fridge? You can make a batch of soup whenever you fancy – no making an extra trip to the store, no trying to hunt down weird ingredients that you can’t even pronounce!
I’ve gone for lightly spiced – just a hint of a tingle, but by all means feel free to double up the spices – they complement each other well as they all fall into the rich and warming category.
Warm. Aromatic. Rich. Mellow.
They even sound like autumnal words, don’t they?
I’m picturing a cool, crisp morning. Falling leaves gently drifting to the forest floor, crunching underfoot as you walk (okay, so there aren’t too many forests round these parts … but I can use my imagination, can’t I?)
And a big, simmering pot of roasted red pepper and tomato soup, waiting for your return – cheeks glowing from the cold, and a hearty appetite from all the leaf piles you made (& jumped into…)
I know it’s only August, but I don’t care, I want autumn and I want it now!
- 1 medium sweet onion, peeled & diced
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon worcester sauce
- Hot sauce to taste (I used a few drops of Frank's Red Hot Wings)
- 2 large red peppers, roasted and diced*
- 650g chopped tomatoes in juice **
- 400ml chicken (or vegetable) stock (plus more to thin soup if necessary)
- To serve:
- Cream (optional)
- French baguette, thickly sliced
- Pesto (homemade or store-bought)
- Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Over a medium low heat, warm the oil in a large pan (I use the largest saucepan I own, a deep, 9" diameter pan). Add the diced onion and gently cook for a few minutes until it starts to soften and turn translucent (it doesn't need to brown). Add the carrot and garlic then cook for another 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn't catch.
- Sprinkle in the seasonings (garam masala, cumin, smoked paprika, worcester sauce and hot sauce) and stir.
- Add the diced, roasted peppers, chopped tomatoes and stock, cover and simmer for 35-45 mins, or until the vegetables are soft and completely cooked through.
- Puree the soup in batches. Return to the pan and check seasoning & spiciness - adjust if necessary.
- If you want a thinner consistency, add a little more stock. If you want to make a 'cream of' soup, add a little cream as you re-heat before serving.
- Serve with lightly toasted french bread slices, spread with pesto and sprinkled with shredded cheese then placed under the grill until melted and bubbling.
** This equates to around 1 & ⅔ cartons (or regular 400g, 14 oz tins) of chopped tomatoes, try using the remainder as a base for a pizza sauce...