Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

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Method

This is an example of a chilled soup in which the vegetables are cooked first until tender, then pureed, flavoured with herbs and seasonings. Chilled borsch and vichyssoise are two classic soups made by this simple method.

Cooking times depend on the vegetable used. Courgettes, for example, soften in about 5 minutes, while the red peppers in this recipe take about 20 minutes to become tender enough.

You will find it easy to adapt this recipe to use with all sorts of vegetables. The quantities suggested here will.

  1. Put I very large deseeded and chopped red pepper in a pan with 1 large garlic clove, 2 tablespoons tomato purée and 450ml (¾ pint) water. Season. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 15–20 minutes until the pepper and garlic are tender.

  2. Purée the pepper, garlic and a little of the water. Stir back into the remaining liquid. Add 750g (lb) skinned, seeded and chopped tomatoes, juice of 1 lemon and 1 teaspoon sugar. Bung to the boil, cover and simmer for 8–10 minutes until cooked but not mushy.

  3. Check the seasoning. Cool the soup, then chill it thoroughly. To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls, dribble a little olive oil over each bowl and sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs, if you like. I often add torn fresh basil leaves to this full-favoured soup just before serving.

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