This soup is wonderfully vibrant and colourful and packs a flavoursome punch. I like a spicy soup so I’ve included a little red chilli but you don’t have to. If you don’t like it feel free to leave it out! Roasting the garlic in its skin allows the flavours to mellow and sweeten. It looses its garlicky harshness and transforms into a much gentler flavour. So if you’re thinking 5 or 6 cloves of garlic sounds like a lot, it’s really not!
For this recipe you need vine-ripened tomatoes as they have a wonderful, rich, tomatoey flavour. Unlike pale faced (cheaper) tomatoes which are often completely flavour-free! I use Red Peppers but you could use yellow or orange peppers instead. Or a mixture of colours. I’d probably not use green peppers as they’re a bit bitter to the taste.
Roasting the peppers and tomatoes adds a depth of flavour. The optional splash of coconut milk at the end gives a creamy touch. If you’re not needing to make the recipe vegan you could always susbstitute a splash of double cream at the end. But take care not to over heat it or it may split.
- 2 Red Peppers, with seeds and core removed and cut into bitesized chunks
- 2-3 Vine Ripened tomatoes (depending on how big they are) cut into quarters
- 5 or 6 cloves of garlic, with the purple skin left on.
- A small onion, peeled and cut into quarters
- Olive oil
- A quarter of a red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped (optional)
- Thyme, Rosemary. If you don’t have Thyme or Rosemary or don’t like it, you could use something like Basil, Oregano instead
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper and Salt.
- A vegetable stock cube or stock pot plus enough boiling water to cover the vegetable mix
- A little coconut milk (or double cream if you prefer)
Preheat oven to Gas Mark 6 200oC or 400oF
Pour a generous glug of olive oil into an ovenproof dish (a metal dish with sides is best)
Put the dish into the oven for about 10 mins until the oil is fairly hot
Carefully add the peppers, tomatoes and the onion and scatter the garlic cloves over the top. Add the herbs (a shaking of each is enough) and then sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper
Gently stir to get the hot olive oil all over the vegetables*. (Be careful when you do this as it can hurt!)
Place back in the oven for about 20-30 mins or so until the vegetables are soft but not burnt.
Once the vegetables are cooked through, gently squeeze the garlic paste out of the garlic skins and discard the skins. This will be hot so use a clean cloth to protect your hands.
Transfer the vegetables to a pan, add the stock cube to the pan and just about enough boiling water to cover the vegetables. Stir well
Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 or so minutes.
Keep an eye on the liquid levels in the pan. Feel free to adjust by adding/taking some away. As I’m not using any thickening agent in the soup we’re going to rely on the vegetable/stock ratio to keep it the right consistency. It needs to be around the top of the vegetables but not completely covering it.
Take off the heat and then blitz using a handheld blender stick
Stir in a little coconut milk or double cream if you prefer that
Check the seasoning by trying one teaspoonful of the soup. If it needs a little extra salt and pepper then add that.
Serve in mugs or bowls with freshly baked bread (or those part baked bread rolls, freshly baked) or toast and lashings of either butter or vegan margarine.
If you have any leftover soup, leave it to cool then put it in a covered jug in the fridge, it will keep for up to 3 days
*Ps I appreciate that tomatoes and peppers are technically fruit but as they live in the veg rack rather than the fruit bowl, that’s what we’re going to call them!