We are a family of soup lovers!! However I should admit that I hate the soup served at most restaurants around Chennai city! They always seem to have the following things in common:
- No natural ingredients
- 100% corn flour and water base
- Artificial food coloring – Red for tomato, green for Spinach…you get the idea?
- Artificial food flavoring
- Too much salt!
- Oil soaked croutons that get soggy and messy when dunked in this concoction
- Huge price tags so not worthy of above ingredients. Paying Rs. 150 for a serving of bad soup!! Are u kidding me?
As someone who grew up having soups from real vegetables I never could come to terms with these soups! Even my mom’s Knorr soup was made healthy as she loaded them with veggies. So yes! I have a bone to pick with most restaurants in the city when it comes to their quality of soups!
Though am not sure where I first came across roasted tomato soup I recall having something similar at Tuscana, the restaurant on Khadar Nawaz Khan road. That soup was a bit salty and though it promised to have roasted tomatoes and artichokes, it had a single artichoke peel in the middle!! This followed by more unhappy experiences, I decided enough is enough and took matters into my own hands! My first experiment was this roasted tomato and red bell pepper soup….Roasted veggies always tend to have a smoky flavor which is quite heavenly when you think about it 🙂 We were all happy with the results and needless to say we never look at the restaurant style soups the same way again!
Here is what I used:
- 1 Kg tomatoes – quartered. Tomatoes were in season then! What better time than to soup your veggies than when they are readily available and not too pricey!
- 1 Large Red Bell Pepper (red capsicum) – Quartered
- 1 Medium – Large Onion – Quartered
- 2-3 Cloves of garlic
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- Any seasoning you have (E.g. Fresh Basil, Italian Seasoning, Oregano). If you have none of these don’t worry – the soup will still taste great
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 – 2 cups of veggie stock. I had the stock from cooking some chick peas. But if you don’t have stock, water will do
- Olive Oil
- Fresh Cream for garnish
Pre-heat you oven to about 400 F for about 10 minutes. When the oven pre-heats, toss the tomatoes, garlic cloves and half of your red bell peppers into a bowl and coat them with about 2 tbsp of olive oil.
When the oven is ready, spread these veggies on the baking tray and roast them until they start turning brown. It should take about 10 -15 minutes depending on your oven
When the veggies are ready they will look like this…
Add about 1tbsp olive oil in a pan and once the oil is hot, add the red pepper flakes and saute for a few seconds. Toss the onions and remaining red bell peppers and saute till they start turning golden brown
When the veggies have turned golden brown, add 1 cup of the stock and simmer until the stock reduces.
When the stock reduces to about 90%, switch off the stove and let it cool a bit. In your mixer, add the roasted vegetables and the stock and grind it to a fine paste. The paste will be thick. No worries we will be diluting this to required consistency. I am going to call this our soup paste.
Return the pan in which you cooked your stock to the stove again. Add the soup paste with 1 more cup of stock and keep stirring. If you feel the soup is too thick add more stock or water to get the consistency that you and your family might like
Do a taste test – if the soup tastes too tangy for your taste, add the sugar and stir well. This usually cancels out the tanginess or sour taste associated with certain types of tomatoes
Now would be the best time to add salt, pepper and other seasonings……Do a taste test and if your happy with the result switch off the stove. Garnish with fresh cream and serve with good ole bread sticks or toasted garlic or foccacia bread or just have it as is…