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Not-Just Red Pepper Soup

Elaine Kwok from Canada

Serves
8
Preparation
30 minutes
Cooks in
60 minutes
Country of origin
Italy

My husband and I recently took a trip to Italy where I tasted this incredible soup in a restaurant called Roscioli in Rome. The place was recommended by a food-loving friend of a friend and is a small, sliver of a restaurant (and deli) somewhat hidden in a side street. It was dairy free, but incredibly creamy and had a real complexity to the flavours. The soup at the restaurant had little shrimp and chunks of salami in it (it tastes better than it sounds), which I didn’t add to this recipe. I wanted to keep the soup simple and let the velvety texture stand out, while still keeping the mysterious and surprising fishy taste. This soup is an explosion of bright colours and flavours that at first feel like they shouldn’t work, but blend beautifully.

Ingredients

  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped into 1″ sections
  • 1.5 shallots, peeled and chopped into 1″ sections
  • 5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • 2 cups homemade turkey stock (or purchased low-sodium chicken stock)
  • 1 tbsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp shrimp paste
  • Olive oil to coat veggies and 1 tbsp for soup

Method

  • Toss the veggies in some olive oil and roast in the toaster oven on the toast setting until everything gets soft and you start to see a bit of charring. Remove garlic peels once cool enough to touch.
  • Meanwhile, deseed the tomatoes. How I do this is I pour the entire can into a large bowl and open each tomato with my hands and scrape out the seeds, then shake the tomato out in the can liquid until the seeds dislodge. I put the cleaned tomato into the soup pot. After doing this with all the tomatoes, I pour the can water through a sieve and use a wooden spoon to moosh any leftover tomato bits through, while keeping the seeds out. It’s labour intensive, but it’s worth it.
  • Add everything into the soup pot and blend using an immersion blender BEFORE TURNING ON THE STOVE. Unless you want to splash molten soup all over yourself.
  • Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the flavours are blended to your liking.
  • If you’re not too picky, the soup is more or less good to go. If you’re going for the the smoothest soup in the world, push the soup through a super-fine drum sieve, which will take about 10-15 minutes of active stirring, but will result in a velvety, bright texture.
  • Add water/salt to adjust texture and flavour to your taste.

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