February 20, 2019

Smoky Tomato - Bell Pepper soup

Soups are comforting, not just in winters. I cannot begin to count the number of times I have been to restaurants and ordered my favorite Manchow soup on the hottest summer days! If I haven’t ever had a particular soup outside, that is Tomato soup. In any group, whether friends or family, there is always one person who always has Tomato soup when eating out. And I, every single time take a taste of it optimistic – maybe this place has a good one – some how I have never been convinced. Have always had either bland or too sour or too creamy or rasam-like (seriously!!!). Tomato soup, I feel needs stronger flavors. You might argue that I am yet to go the right place. Probably. Wait until you try this easy Smoky Tomato soup with Red Bell peppers or Red Capsicum.

There is no heavy cream or half & half used in this recipe, just plain milk. Of course cream is an option, it makes the soup rich, however also dilutes it to a mild one. I have also used organic vegetable stock by Kitchen Basics.
One of the reasons I love making this version of tomato soup is that all the major cooking happens in the oven, not much to monitor. Where it eats up time is the cooling period once out of oven. Gosh! I get so impatient, have even blown the hot veggies myself 😐 All said, it’s on point with flavors, trust me when I say that, because I have dreamed of enhancing restaurant tomato soups with all the sauces and seasonings in the world.

Tomato – 3 large ripe
Red Bell Pepper – one half  (or 1 cup chopped)
Onion – half of a small one (or 3/4th cup chopped)
Garlic – 3 cloves (6, if using small)
Basil or any fresh herb – 4-5  (if unavailable, dried herbs work fine too)
Crushed Pepper – 1 tsp
Olive oil or any oil – 1 tbsp
Vegetable stock – 1 + 1/2 cup
Milk – 1/4th cup
Butter – 1 tbsp
Cheese and Salt to taste

How I prepare:
  1. Roughly chop tomatoes, onions, bell pepper and garlic into a baking dish. Add olive oil, pepper, fresh herb (I had cilantro/coriander leaves handy) and salt.
  2. Place in oven preheated at 450 degrees Farenheit for 20 minutes stirring after 10 minutes. Next for 5 minutes, keep on 500 degrees or broil or until you see the veggies are charred. This is where the flavour comes from. Char them more if you would like, just make sure not to burn too much!
  3. Next, let it cool and blend in batches – I do it in three batches.
  4. Take a saucepan and pour the vegetable stock, tomato-onion-pepper mixture and milk.
  5. Boil for 5 minutes on sim or low heat. Last add butter.
This quantity yields 4 cups of soup.
Add grated cheese just when you are ready to devour this heavenly soup, HOT. I hardly make any alterations to this recipe except the herb part – if I have Basil, that is used or anything handy. Even dried herbs – oregano, parsley will do wonders.
Serve with toasted baguette or your favorite bread. Dip into hot soup, blow the bread in slow motion and pop into your mouth, as comforting and dreamlike as can be. I can taste it as I type😂

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