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Soup Vegan Vegetarian Appetizer
Tomato and Roasted Bell Pepper Soup image

Tomato and Roasted Bell Pepper Soup

This Tomato and Roasted Bell Pepper Soup recipe started with a Jamie Oliver idea, and refined over the course of the last few years. It is a filling soup and a great way to start off a winter dinner. 

The two main ingredients of this soup are tomatoes and roasted bell peppers (or capsicum, as I recently learned they are called in Australia and New Zealand). You can start out with fresh ingredients but there is no shame in using canned tomatoes; the same is true for the roasted bell peppers.

Using Fresh Ingredients

Make sure you use ripe, sweet tomatoes. Remove the skin by scoring the bottom and top cross-wise with a sharp knife and dipping the tomatoes for about 20 seconds in boiling water. Remove the skin and put aside.

Fresh Tomatoes Roasting bell peppers takes slightly more time. You could use the oven, a cast-iron skillet or simply a gas flame. Roast the peppers until most of the skin is blackened. Put the peppers in a plastic bag and seal it; this will make it easier to remove the skin later. Once cooled down, remove the skin. Remove the seeds as well.

Using Canned Ingredients

If you don't have a whole lot of time available, you could use cans of tomato polpa (finely cut tomatoes). The real time-saver is the jar of roasted peppers that you can buy in many supermarkets, particularly in stores with  Mediterranean products (check your local Turkish store if you have one around).

Canned Tomatoes

The Method

Put some olive oil in your pan, add three finely chopped cloves of garlic and simmer (making sure the garlic does not burn; this would cause a bitter taste). Add the chopped tomatoes (or the contents of the can). Also, add the chopped roasted bell peppers (or the contains of the jar of roasted peppers, adding the liquid from the jar as well). Add some clear stock (herbs or vegetables, so this can be a vegetarian and even vegan soup), the chili flakes and the slices of ginger.

Bring the contents of the pan to a boil and simmer for at least 20 minutes. During this time, the flavors will blend together. Set aside to cool down. Remove the ginger slices, they have done their job. Using a kitchen machine blitz the soup until perfectly smooth.

Adding Flavor

In order to add depth of flavor, I use two ingredients. The first one is dried chili flakes. Just a pinch of them will do. The second is a few slices (of several millimeters thick) of ginger root. The first ingredient gives the soup a bit of an attitude, the second one adds a warm hum of heat. Vary with these ingredients until you have found your perfect balance.

Serving

This soup is quite filling. I prefer to use small cups to serve as an appetizer. Drizzle the soup with a bit of olive oil (or even better, basil oil).

Ingredients

  • 500 gr of ripe, sweet tomatoes, skin removed, or one can of polpa
  • 500 gr of roasted peppers, skin and seeds removed, or one jar of readily roasted peppers, with its liquid
  • 500 ml of clear stock (herbs or vegetables), or 1 stock cube dissolved in 500 ml of water
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Some dried chili flakes
  • A few slices of ginger root.

This will give you about 1.5 liters of soup, which will easily serve 8 appetizer portions.