Roasted red pepper and garlic soup

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Red peppers

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Perfect for a chilly, drizzly February day, this surprisingly hearty vegetarian soup is packed with enough flavour and nutrients to keep you going until summer.

Cooking time: around 1 hour
Serves: 4-5 bowls

Ingredients:

2-3 red peppers
5 cloves garlic
1 large onion (red or white)
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1-2 small chili peppers (optional)
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can cannellini (or other white) beans
1 cup pearl barley
2 cubes vegetable stock
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 sprig rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Set your oven to roast/broil/grill at around 150°. While it heats up, chop the red peppers to a manageable size – not diced, but not too large to eat. Smash the garlic and mix them with the peppers, coating everything with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Put the peppers and garlic in the oven to roast while you chop the rest of the vegetables. You can add a little of whatever’s in your fridge for extra flavour – mushrooms, potatoes, or broccoli are all great additions! They can be diced or chopped roughly, depending on whether you like a chunky or a smoother soup.

Start frying the onions and other veggies on medium heat, stirring often.

Keep checking that your peppers are roasting nicely – they should be browning, but not blackened. Take them out whenever they’re done!

Add boiling water to your stock pots or stock cubes (follow the instructions on the packaging) and stir well to ensure they completely dissolve.

Pour the stock in with the frying vegetables, then add the roasted red peppers and garlic along with the the canned tomatoes and beans (butter beans or chickpeas will also work well). Rinse the barley and add to the soup; bring back to a boil and check to make sure the consistency is soup-like, adding more stock if necessary (the barley will soak up some of the liquid).

Roughly chop the rosemary leaves and the thyme and throw that in too, along with the cayenne (less if you don’t like spice) and paprika. Let it all simmer until the barley and vegetables are soft, about twenty minutes; in the meantime add more spices, stock, or salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a side of bread and butter and grated parmesan on top.

NB: Soup is very forgiving and can be played around with. Add in whatever ingredients you love and let us know how it turns out! You can also use less stock for a stew-like consistency, or forego the barley and blend it all up for a puree.

Have you tried this recipe? Comment below and tell us what you think!