Published on November 10th, 2013 | by Gareth0
Sunny Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
To mix things up a little, this weeks post comes from a guest writer in the USA called Claire Hannon, who recently reached out out the subject of nutrition. I made Claire’s pepper soup (capsicum) last night and can vouch for it’s flavour and ease to make. Soup might seem a little off season for Australia, but you have to remember that its coming into winter in the Northern hemisphere. Plus this soup tastes pretty good chilled, making it still a contender for Australian summer. Try it with a dollop of basil pesto, you won’t regret it. Anyway, over to Claire and her sunny red soup:
Nothing is more comforting than a bowl of piping hot soup for lunch or dinner. The kids will love this Mediterranean twist on a classic tomato soup which won’t just fill them up and keep them warm; it will will also help them fight off all of those winter colds, bugs and germs too, because it’s bursting with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Best of all it is super simple to make. Serve it with kid-friendly, savoury tomato, yellow pepper and Parmesan loaf for a fresh and filling Mediterranean winter warmer on those cold days.
For the soup:
- 3 de-seeded red peppers
- 10 plum tomatoes
- 1 peeled carrot
- 1 chopped white onion
- 1 stick of celery
- 3 cloves of garlic (unpeeled)
- 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
- 1 pint of vegetable stock (chicken stock works well too, unless you’re vegetarian)
- Olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- Fresh basil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
1. Begin by roasting the peppers. Preheat the oven to 200º then cut them in half and de-seed them before laying them flat in a roasting tray. Add the garlic cloves and a drizzle of olive oil. Allow them to roast for 30 minutes then remove them and place to one side. You can also roast the tomatoes too (handy if you want a creamier soup because you can easily remove the tomato skins after roasting)
2. Peel and finely chop the celery, onion and carrot then heat more olive oil in a pan and allow the vegetables to soften for up to 10 minutes. In the meantime chop the tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds and any other hard cores.
3. After 10 minutes add the tomatoes, cooked peppers, tomato puree, sugar and chopped basil to the pan and allow to cook for a further 10 minutes. This will allow the tomatoes to soften. During this time stir or shake the pan regularly to avoid sticking.
4. Make up the stock using boiling water and add to the pan. Bring the mixture to the boil then reduce to a lower heat, cover and leave the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. After 20 minutes bring in the hand blender and let the kids go wild. However try to warn them not to over-blend as a little texture can give the soup a thick and rustic feel which is even more satisfying for those winter evenings.
6. Season with salt and black pepper to taste, add a little extra basil for garnish and pesto as an option.
One of the best things about this recipe is that the key ingredients are all things that can be grown at home. Robust vegetables such as onions, garlic, celery and carrots can be grown in a vegetable patch even during the winter, whilst peppers and tomatoes can be grown indoors on the plant. Studies indicate that children who are involved in the planting and growing of vegetables are more likely to become interested in them, want to eat them and consequently adopt a healthier diet. This recipe is therefore a great way to grasp their interest in the ingredients (all of which have multiple health benefits) and encourage them to grow them, eat them and develop an interest in cooking. Licensed Prescriptions suggest that cooking with kids has become a dying art in recent years, so it really is important to help boost their interest and ability in cooking to try and develop their skills for the future and promote a healthy diet. This is also a practical dish that can be made in bulk then frozen for up to 3 months meaning you have a healthy meal ready whenever you need it. No for the tomato loaf:
Tomato, Pepper and Parmesan Loaf
- 1 cup of milk
- 370g flour
- 10g active yeast
- 4 sun-dried tomatoes
- Half of a yellow pepper
- 25g Parmesan cheese (grated)
- 25g olive oil
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Fresh rosemary
1. Chop the sun-dried tomatoes into small pieces and allow them to soak in water for 30 minutes.
2. Slice one yellow pepper in half, discarding the seeds and chop into small pieces. Then cook these off in a pan with a little olive oil until they have softened. Put to one side with the tomatoes.
3. Sieve the flour, yeast, sugar and salt into a bowl. Mix the olive oil, milk and egg in a separate bowl then gently pour the liquid over the flour based ingredients and fold together.
4. Remove the tomatoes from the water and add them to the bowl along with the Parmesan, peppers and rosemary. Stir together to create a rough dough. Remember this will not be a neat loaf like you would find in a grocery store – it will be rustic and probably misshapen so don’t over mix the ingredients in an attempt to make it look pretty.
5. Grease a bread tin, transfer the dough into the tin and bake in an preheated oven at 200º for 30-40 minutes. Check that the loaf is cooked by inserting a knife into the middle section – if it comes out non-sticky then it is good to go.
6. Let the loaf rest for 15 minutes and slice straight from the bread tin. Serve alongside the soup and let the kids dig in.
About the author: Claire Hannon is a former Nutritional Science student who then went on to work in various roles in the healthcare industry. When she became a mother, her outlook on life changed and she turned to freelance writing as a way to make a living, whilst creating a home for her family. She spends her free time indulging her passion for healthy cookery and finding new ways to tempt the palates of her curious children