Lightly spiced roast red pepper & tomato soup
with Mashed basil leaf & olive oil
A simple, well used Jamie Oliver recipe, from his Naked Chef recipe book with just a wee change here and there over the years. Jamie´s recipes always burst with flavour and this 20 yr old recipe is still the best – as he wrote it, or as we did it – we just roasted the veggies first.
In fact, just as I was writing this post, I thought I´d check to see how the cookbook was priced on Amazon these days and WOW, I discovered that the kindle version has a free sample if you have the Amazon kindle app ( so easy , I have it on my phone and it´s free to download) . So I downloaded it in seconds, with Jamie´s new introduction. I had forgotten this was his first ever cook book! This recipe is in there.
As usual, this recipe came out to play when I had to use up stuff. I roasted a red pepper before it went off, but didn´t have a plan yet. Then the next day I bought a gorgeous glut of tomatoes that needed to be used up too. And they go beautifully together, so here we are.
Today´s version, a nice, pulpy, wholesome soup.
About 20 years ago, when dinner parties were a plenty, this was a recipe Paul used to do a lot as a pre starter. He´d sieve it well through a chinois with a pestle– very cheffy indeed… to produce a fine little starter in a fancy soup cup. Those were the days !
What kind of tomatoes are best to use ?
You know, it doesn´t matter as long as they´re nice and ripe ! Jamie same plum tomatoes, maybe because they´re usually tastier in the UK. I got a big net bag of these cheap ones in the supermarket in Spain. Garden tomatoes I´d call them, but next time I see them, if they have a name I´ll update this post for you. They were probably the cheapest, and bursting with ripeness so I had to find a way to use them fast… SOUP, they shouted.
Jamie doesn´t roast his tomatoes, so you don´t have to but we love the flavour it adds… so scrape up all that lovely maillard reaction fond at the bottom of the roasting pan, and get all the juices too.
If you don´t know what one is, START HERE. I couldn´t live without mine – it´s the cooking extension of my arm !
Roasting tin or pyrex dish
Heavy based deep saucepan
Optional chinois for making a fine soup
The original recipe
Paul loves a tear sheet !
This is one of many he brought in his suitcase. I photographed my favourites ! I always love to see a well used recipe page though, and, some good side notes – what was Jamie thinking with that chili measure, or has it just got hotter over the years.
the version we made today
Jamie´s recipe serves 6. We made ours for 2.
Jamie skins his tomatoes, we didn´t, deliberately, it adds so much more flavour.
We roasted the tomatoes, Jamie doesnt.
Red wine vinegar, we used Sherry vinegar. We alway have that (Jerez vinegar) here in Spain, so that´s what we used, it´s about the same weight and just a little sweeter. Balsamic vinegar would also work really well here.
Fresh chili, we didn´t have any but had whole cayennes, so we use half of one finely chopped – was perfect ! You really could use any chili here, powdered cayenne would work too. Just be sure to know your spice and add less rather than more !
for 2 people
1 big red pepper, halved and deseeded
1/2 to 1 clove garlic depending on how big it is and now garlicky you want it to taste.
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cayenne pepper, chopped finely
2 teaspoons sherry or red wine vinegar
200ml veg or chicken stock
a handful of fresh basil leaves
Pop the pepper and tomatoes into a bag with a few spoonfuls of olive oil so they get well covered, then place them in a roasting tin or pyrex dish, spread out. Roast them in the oven at about 200℃ for 30-40 mins till they go brown round the edges.
Chop the dried pepper really finely ( put gloves on or be really careful with it on your fingers !)
Crush the garlic. (Just chop the ends off while the skin is on, and flatten them with the side of your large sharp chopping knife. The skin will just fall off. Then chop as roughly and finely as you can.)
Put the pepper into a heavy based pan along with the oils from roasting. If you don´t have any oils, add a little more to the pan. Add the chili, a pinch of salt, and fry together for up to 5 mins to get the chili and flavours all fused. Then add the chopped garlic and cook for another few minutes. Now pour the rest of the veggies in – the roasted tomatoes, with the juices and all the yummy brown bits from the roasting pan and cook together for another 5 mins. Add the stock and cook on a simmer for about 15 mins. Season to taste.
Blend the soup with the hand blender.
He used my Bamix, with the multifunction blade, use the whisk blade afterwards if you want it even finer)
Mash the basil with a pinch of salt with the hand blender, and add a drop of vinegar and a teaspoon of the remaining olive oil. Purée with a hand blender until smooth… or leave it a bit bashed and rough – I prefer it like that . TASTE and adjust.
Serve the soup and drizzle the basil over the top. Swirl any remaining olive oil. Serve with nice crusty toast !
SOUP Too thick…
add more stock, or sieve it to get a fine thinner soup.
Want IT TO BE MORE SUBSTANTIAL …
Just add some chunks of tomato or pepper into it, or potato even. Serve with a toasted cheese /ham sandwich instead of just bread or toast.
What to do with left overs…
I would add a thickener like a cashew nut cream or chia seeds or psyllium husk or cream cheese or a combination of these and have it as a pasta sauce !
Have In your store cupboard
Vinegar, Chili, Garlic
Don´t forget… the vinegar is used in two places here to bring out the flavour, once with the tomatoes when they go into the soup pan, and once with the basil to bring that flavour out too.
special pick or purchase
Basil leaves – I write this because we are either in a lucky position to have it growing everywhere in our community in the Canaries, or, have to find a handful or pot plant to buy in the supermarket here -. hasn´t been easy !
Prepare in advance…mise en place
Pre-roast your red pepper, and tomatoes, then it´s a cinch putting it together. You could even have your garlic bulb roasted with them, and spoon in a roasted clove per person in your recipe.
Play with how you want to drizzle the basil mix over the soup, or just place it in the centre like Paul did, and drizzle olive oil and sprinkle fresh cracked black pepper over the whole bowl.
If you like tomatoes and peppers, and the flavours roasting gives
then You might also like these 3 recipes & tips too.
Red pepper dip, sauce, or potato filling.
The maillard reaction - tasty browned food
Tomato shakshuka - our low calorie lunch !
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Thank-you to Tengyart from Russia for this sad to mad eggs image.
Eggs can be the most difficult things to cook well, and I feel this image represents all the emotions from cook to chef.
Makes us giggle.