Once in a blue moon, Hungry Hubby makes me dinner. It started as a romantic gesture when anniversaries or Valentine’s rolled by and we didn’t have enough money to go out to a fancy pants restaurant. I think it was the very first time I’d handed over culinary control and he came up with a slap-up three-course menu, that starred steak as the main attraction and heart-shaped vanilla fairy cakes for pudding but it was the starter which I’ll never forget.
He’d seen a recipe for two-toned roasted pepper soup somewhere online thanks to Google and he presented it like a yellow and orange ying and yang in the bowl! He was huffing and puffing and a few beads of sweat glistened on his brow as he called me into the kitchen to start our feast, sitting me with my back to the carnage that was behind me as I swear he’d used every bowl, pan and utensil we owned to create the spread before me!
But the visual effect was so impressive and the taste was so good, the mess was more than excusable. The soup was absolutely superb – light, fresh and interestingly, it had a little bit of vinegar in it which brought it to life. We both love all things pickled and vinegary so it was a given that we would like it. My love for jarred roasted red peppers is well documented in plenty of recipes already on the blog – like this one-pan supper and these beautiful little ravioli.
I’d often thought about Hungry Hubby’s special soup in the years to come. As the tips of the trees are now turning russet and the autumnal air is crisp and cool, our salad boxes are packed up for another day again and I find myself reaching for our thermos flasks to fill with soup to make workday lunches a warming prospect to look forward to. I know you can buy all manner of pre-prepared soups from packet mixes to fresh ones in tubs that go straight in the microwave but those unwanted, unnecessary added extras in the way of fillers and preservatives are hardly appetising.
Sure they are easy but the taste is often not as good as their well designed and attractive packaging leads you to imagine, and the salt content is literally heart-stopping too. This soup is very light in texture but the concentrated and slightly charred flavour of the peppers is so juicy and bright, with a hint of sourness to cut their sweetness with a mere dribble of red wine vinegar is very satisfying.
A perfect light lunch on a fast day at around 115 calories a serving. Don’t be afraid to get plenty of colour on them and let their skins blister in the oven. I stumbled upon chilli flakes a seasoning for soup on a holiday with Hungry Hubby to America and I can’t think of a better soup to sprinkle them onto.
- 6 peppers not green!
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 300 ml vegetable stock
- 1-2 tsp red wine vinegar
- Salt pepper and chilli flakes to season
Half and deseed your peppers, spraying on both surfaces lightly with cooking oil. Place on a baking sheet.
Spray the garlic still in it's skin with oil and place next to the peppers.
Roast at 200˚C until blistered and charring around the edges, about 15-20 minutes per side.
Place in a large jug or bowl and squeeze the roasted garlic out of it's skin in the jug with the peppers.
Blitz with a stick blender then pour over the hot stock (I unashamedly use a stock cube, although a good organic, low salt one!) and blend again until smooth.
If you don't have a super powerful stick blender then you may want to pass the soup through a fine meshed sieve to ensure you get rid of any resistant bits of pepper skin before you serve the soup.
Add the vinegar to taste and season as liked. I love chilli flakes on pretty much every soup and loads of black pepper - the amount of salt needed will depend on the stock you use.
My favourite stock cubes are by Kallo - their low salt ones are very flavourful without being a health hazard!
Please don't even think about using a green pepper. Their sourness is never right as far as I am concerned and it would be all wrong for this recipe in particular!