For me, one of the best parts of the cooler weather is soup. Warming, tasty, not too heavy, quick and easy to make and it often allows me to use up bits and pieces.
This soup is a great example of all of these qualities. When making the Gnocchi with Chicken, Asparagus, Roasted Tomatoes and Pesto last night I also roasted the remaining grape tomatoes, and three sweet peppers that were in the fridge. Some chick peas and chicken stock pulled from the freezer and I had the makings of a lovely soup.
The peppers added sweetness, and the chick peas added the thickening element (no need for potatoes). The addition of herb and garlic Boursin cheese just before serving added some creaminess to the finished soup.
In a 400F oven, roast 1 1/2 - 2 cups of whole grape tomatoes, and 3 sweet peppers in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. When cooled, peel and seed the peppers. Set aside.
In a heavy bottomed pot, with a bit of olive oil, cook until softened:
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
salt and pepper
When the onions are soft, add:
the roasted tomatoes and any juices from the roasting dish
the 3 roasted, peeled and seeded peppers and any juices from the roasting dish
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Chicken stock to cover the vegetables
Bring to a boil.
1 cup chick peas
Turn the heat down and simmer until the carrots are soft.
Remove from the heat, and using a hand blender or food processor, puree the soup.
Strain it through a fine mesh strainer to remove the tomato and chick pea skins, leaving you with a silky smooth soup.
Return the soup to the heat, adjusting the consistency by adding more chicken stock if needed.
Taste and adjust seasoning.
When the soup has heated through again, serve it garnished with some crumbled garlic and herb Boursin cheese and a sprig of fresh thyme. I also toasted some thinly sliced sourdough bread and passed that at the table.
- Fresh tomatoes, seeded or canned tomatoes can be used instead of grape tomatoes. Both can be roasted, or left as is. Roasting the tomatoes enhances their flavour, giving it more depth and also increases the sweetness.
- Purchased roasted peppers can be used if you like.
- Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock to make this a completely vegetarian soup.
- Pureeing the chick peas allows the starch in them to thicken the soup. If you want to set some aside to use for garnish, go ahead. You can also roast some to crisp them up and add those as a garnish.
- Instead of chick peas use other beans such as cannellini, navy or kidney. A peeled and diced potato can also be used instead of chick peas.
- As far as flavourings go, I kept it simple: salt, pepper and fresh thyme. This way the sweetness of the peppers was not masked. Of course, you can add whatever herbs and spices you choose...paprika or smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, basil.
- Soft goat cheese can be used in place of the herb and garlic Boursin. To keep this vegetarian, garnish your soup with some Basil Pesto, instead of using cheese.