Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

It’s getting closer to autumn. The urge to cook hearty soups automatically increases…

I had loads of cherry tomatoes left from my go at Salmorejo Cordobés, so this recipe I found on the Dutch Jamie’s Magazine website seemed an ideal way to use the remainder. It pretty much is the same as a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s 2002 The Naked Chef cookbook. In this version everything is oven roasted instead of the peppers only.

The Recipe

  • 3 red bell peppers, halved and membranes removed
  • 2 large red onions, quartered
  • 1kg / 2.2 lbs cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 cloves of garlic, whole
  • olive oil
  • leaves from 1 bunch of fresh thyme
  • 250–500 ml hot vegetable stock or hot water
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat your oven to 355ºF/180ºC
  2. Put the peppers and tomatoes (skin side up in a single layer) together with the onions and garlic cloves in a roasting tin. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, add the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes
  3. Take the roasting tin from the oven and let everything cool sufficiently to be able to remove all the skins from the peppers and tomatoes and peel the garlic cloves
  4. Transfer everything to the blender or bowl, and purée until very smooth with the (stick) blender
  5. Transfer the purée into a sauce pan and add the hot stock or water until you reach the desired consistency and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Heat the soup on low heat and serve in bowls with a drizzle of olive oil (and as per the not so subtle product placement on their site with some baguette and Lurpak butter….)

What worked and what didn’t:
“Making your own soup a difficult task? Not with this recipe! As the peppers, onions, tomatoes and garlic are put into the oven first, the soup will get a delicious sweetish taste. It is ideal for eating with large groups as you don’t have to do much with the ingredients…

Bloody hell. This (quickly translated) text introducing the recipe is clearly written by someone who was not tasked with actually cooking it! Cutting 1 kilo of cherry tomatoes in halves was already way more than my biggest roasting tin could hold. tomatoes afterBesides having to revert to a second roasting tin, removing the skins from all those cherry tomatoes and the peppers takes a serious amount of time (I already had my suspicions when I couldn’t find any overall timing indication on the website…) and is incredibly messy.

I have to admit that the soup tastes delicious and the oven roasted tomatoes really add much more depth. So, taste-wise it could be considered worth the hassle, but next time I will definitely use a few shortcuts.

Recipe accuracy:
Besides the blatant lie suggesting that you don’t have to do much with the ingredients, I found the recipe easy to follow. Furthermore, the recipe serves 4 – as advertised – so you will need to double the quantities to actually be able to cater to a large group. Quite unnerving…

Suggested tweaks:
Roasting the cherry tomatoes whole and then just puréeing them would make it all much easier. Subsequently, passing the purée through a sieve will rid any remaining skins and pips and gives you a smoother soup to boot. However, it should be pretty much the same result from a flavour perspective.

Instead of just drizzling some olive oil on top you can add some extra punch by reserving a teaspoon of the fresh thyme leaves and grinding them together in a pestle and mortar with 2-3  tablespoons of olive oil. A spoonful of pesto and some toasted pine nuts was great too.

Verdict: 8/10; the soup was very nice, but I don’t think it’s worth the extra hassle to follow the actual recipe.

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