Roasted Red Pepper and Shallot Soup

This is a blessedly simple soup to make that will fill the house with tempting aromas. Red peppers and shallots are roasted til tender, skin, seeds and roots etc removed then liquidized with fresh cherry tomatoes and a pinch of saffron. The cheery orange-red soup has the look and texture of Heinz tomato soup but the hint of saffron and honey, ensure it tastes very different. My picture shows a separately soft-poached egg slipped into the soup just before serving. This is a lovely addition, giving texture from the white and richness from the yolk. Yum.

Serves 4
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 40 min

2 large red peppers
6 shallots
6 cherry tomatoes
generous pinch saffron threads
750ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp honey
squeeze lemon

Heat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Place peppers on a swiss roll roasting tin and edge with the shallots, their root ends trimming, otherwise left whole. Roast for 20 minutes, then, using tongs, turn the peppers – the skin will be starting to puff and blacken – and shallots. Cook for a further 15 minutes or so, until the peppers are tender and the shallots soft. Transfer the peppers to a plate, cover with a stretch of clingfilm and leave for 15 minutes to cool slightly and remove stalks, skin and seeds. Save all the juices; it might be easier to pass collected juices through a sieve into the bowl of a food processor. Add pepper flesh, the shallots squeezed out of their skin, halved tomatoes and saffron threads which you’ve softened in 1 tbsp boiling water. Add hot stock and liquidize super smooth. Pass through a sieve to catch stray seeds, reheat, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, honey and lemon. This soup, like so many, is even better the next day.