If you’re looking for a soup that’s bold in flavour, easy to make and versatile enough to be the star of a casual lunch, a starter at a dinner party or the flair offering at a holiday open house, stop right here and check out this roasted red pepper and tomato soup. It meets all those criteria and more.
I’ve been making this soup for a few years now, but just tweaked my original recipe to accommodate the bags of chopped roasted peppers that I’ve stored in the freezer. The reality is that I don’t always start by roasting three peppers on the stove or barbecue, as my first recipe stipulates. And, I couldn’t quite recall the volume yield of those peppers. So, this time I started with a two-cup bag of peppers and went on from there. Of course, now I realize I also should have weighed the peppers. In the interests of science I just may need to make another batch, but this recipe is too good not to share with you again right now.
Serving soup in shooters or espresso cups adds a ‘wow’ touch to any gathering, especially one where guests are mingling and grazing from a serving table. At my holiday open house last year I had two kinds of soup on hand, and the idea was a big hit with the crowd. For ease of consumption, it’s best to serve a smooth textured soup like this one. Just keep it hot in a slow cooker right on the table, and use a metal turkey baster to serve it neatly.
Who knew that soup could create a buzz at your party?
Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup
This soup has it all: ease of preparation, bold flavour, big colour, great texture and versatility. Did I mention it’s also quick and easy to make? While I’ve always made it with chicken stock, it’s easy to go vegan simply by switching to a vegetable stock. As far as the herbs go, I switch up dried and fresh according to what I have on hand. As a general rule, you can substitute half as much dried herbs for fresh, or twice as much fresh for dried.
- 1 tbsp oil (olive or grapeseed)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups coarsely chopped roasted red pepper
- 1 28-can whole tomatoes (preferably San Marzano, but regular will do; I’ve also used an equivalent amount of tomatoes that I’ve frozen)
- 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 to 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp dried basil
Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large pot. Add the onion and garlic and stir frequently for a few minutes, until the aromatic vegetables have sweated out and become translucent. Stir in the roasted red peppers, then add the can of tomatoes. Break them up with the spatula or spoon, then add the stock and seasonings.
Cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil, then simmer for at least 20 minutes or up to 30. Taste and adjust the seasonings. (Those of you who are familiar with my recipes know that I generally prefer more pepper than salt in my dishes. It goes without saying that you should cook to your own preferences, while being considerate of any guests’ tastes and dietary needs. In other words, it’s easy to add more and a lot harder to tame what’s too much.)
Using an immersion blender (my favourite tool for ease of use and clean-up), puree the soup until it’s absolutely smooth. Then puree it some more.
Serve in any style from rustic to elegant.