So it’s time to do the weekly clean-out-the-fridge thingy to make sure there aren’t things laying forgotten in the fridge. This afternoon’s find: 3 red peppers whose skins are starting to get wrinkly, a box of also wrinkly grape tomatoes, and a going-to-yellow bunch of parsley. Hmm…maybe it’s time to cook another soup. I don’t have enough tomatoes to make just a tomato soup nor red peppers to do a roasted red pepper soup, so I guess I’m gonna to have a marriage of recipes and do a roasted red pepper and tomato soup.
To make this soup, I looked through three recipes, and took elements of what I liked from each recipe. The three recipes are, Roasted Red Pepper Soup and Grilled Tomato Soup from the recipe book The Joy of Cooking, and Nigella Lawson’s Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup Recipe. I have tried these two recipes from The Joy of Cooking before and I think the addition of fennel seeds, rice, wine and carrots in the roasted pepper soup recipe greatly added to the taste and gives you the nice texture without the need to add flour or cream to thicken the soup. The last bit of adding balsamic vinegar to the finished soup really added something wonderfully extra too. Nigella Lawson’s recipe has a simple ingredient list, but I have tried making soup with that kind of short list of ingredients before – just the vegetables and stock, and it just lacked that ommph. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a good and a wonderful recipe when you don’t have spices and wine and just want to make a quick soup, but after trying out the two soup recipes from the Joy of Cooking previously, I think the addition of that few ingredients really takes the soup to another level. I consulted Nigella Lawson’s more for the method of a quick preparation. I do love her style of fast and simple, so I adopted her way of baking everything on a tray, rather than broiling them and then removing the skin. If Nigella says it’s okay to leave the skin on, then I shall do it! And it was okay! There were no ugly pepper skins floating around. After blending, everything looks beautiful. 🙂
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (a marriage of Joy of Cooking’s Roasted Red Pepper Soup and Grilled Tomato Soup).
about 6 oz grape tomatoes (it’s a weird volume because it’s leftovers in my fridge. A new box of 8 oz is perfectly ok!)
3 medium red peppers
half a medium onion
3 small cloves of garlic
1/2 cup diced carrots
5 cups chicken/vegetable stock
1 cup dry white wine
3 tbsp medium grain rice, preferably arborio (which is what I used)
2 tbsp fresh basil, or 2 tsp dried
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp red pepper flakes (less if you don’t like it too spicy, or more if you like)
Preheat the oven to 350 deg F/180 deg C. Cut the tomatoes, red peppers into smaller pieces, slice onions and put them all onto a baking tray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle generously with olive oil. Mix it well. Put in the oven to bake for about 20-25 min, till they are just slightly charred.
Put your dutch oven (or the pot you will be cooking the soup in) over medium-high heat. Add some olive oil and cook the garlic (i cut them into smaller pieces) till golden and fragrant. Add your tomatoes, peppers and onion, carrots, fennel seeds, basil, pepper flakes and rice and stir-fry them for a few minutes more till aromatic. Add in chicken stock and wine. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer till the vegetables and rice are very tender, about 30 minutes.
Have a taste. Then add 2-3 drops of balsamic vinegar – do you taste the difference? I think the balsamic vinegar really lifted the taste. Add salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with parsley. Voila! A big pot of roasted red pepper and tomato soup that taste as good as those served in restaurants but at a fraction of the cost!