Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Soup

It is autumn. Days are getting shorter, temperatures are getting lower and I have dug my big winter coat out of my wardrobe. This can only mean one thing… It is soup season! I love being able to prepare a big pot of soup; not only is it warming and comforting, but it also keeps beautifully in the fridge so you have leftovers for the next few days.
I recently went to lunch with a friend at a local cafe, The English Muse, and had the soup of the day, which was a Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Soup. It was everything a soup should be: tasty, thick, comforting with a little hint of spice for warmth. Eaten with a big slice of granary bread, it was a filling and satisfying lunch. I knew I would need to re-create it at home. I hope you enjoy my version below.


Ingredients
:

(serves 6)

  • 2 red peppers, halved and deseeded
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 4-5 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (approx. 450-500g)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp Gochujang (hot pepper) paste (see notes)
  • 750ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 250C/230C fan.
  2. Place the pepper halves, skin side up, on a baking sheet. Brush the peppers with 1 tbsp of olive oil and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the skin of the peppers is black, charred and blistered (see notes.) Set aside to cool.
  3. Heat the 2 remaining tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, celery and sweet potato to the saucepan and cook for 8-10 minutes until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute until the garlic becomes fragrant. Make sure the garlic doesn’t burn, otherwise it will go bitter.
  5. Add the Gochujang paste and the vegetable stock to the saucepan. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.
  6. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel the skin off and discard. Chop the flesh roughly and add to the saucepan.
  7. Using an immersion blender, process all the ingredients in the saucepan until the soup reaches a smooth texture.
  8. Taste your soup and add salt and pepper to taste (see notes.)
  9. Serve the soup with a garnish of chopped fresh parsley.

    Notes:

    Gochujang paste or hot pepper paste can be purchased online easily. But you can substitute a deseeded and finely chopped red chilli pepper.

    Roasting the peppers at high temperature in the oven creates a lot of smoke (be warned!) and the resulting charred peppers look quite dramatic, but the skin needs to be blackened and blistered otherwise you will not be able to peel it.

    Always add your seasoning at the end of your cooking time as it will depend on how salty your vegetable stock is. This being said, this soup benefits from a robust seasoning.

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