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Want to be as awesome as me?

Well you can’t.

But you can get closer to awesomeness through making this fantastic roast vegetable soup.  It was cold, dashed cold, when I got up this morning.  1.8°C, the reliable Bureau of Meteorology website informs me. And that, my friends, is enough to encourage me to make soup.  Spicy, rich, lush, roast vegetable soup.  Now, I’ve got a bit of a boner for soup, as regular readers will be aware (Hi Mumini! Ignore that bit about the boner, that’s just what the kids say these days!), as well as a bit of a boner for chilly weather — add to that the freshly-baked Hot Cross Buns Anzac Day Buns I made for breakfast, and we’ve got a boner count of three and it’s not even ten o’clock.  Moving hastily on from boner counting, here’s a delicious spicy soup recipe you can make at home in the vain hope of being as awesome as I.  Makes about 4-6 cups of soup.

Zingy Awesome Roast Vegetable Soup

Roast the vegetables:

  • Two capsicums — I used 1 1/2 red, 1/2 green, because that’s what I had: halved and deseeded
  • Half a purple onion: peeled, topped and tailed
  • Five cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Two small hot chillies, topped
Zingy-Soup-5

If photographing oily vegetables is weird, hey, I don't want to be right.

Prepare all your vegetables as above, then brush generously with olive oil and toss some whole black peppercorns through. Arrange them on a baking tray: slide the garlic cloves and chillies underneath the capsicum halves, because this makes sure that (a) their baking aromas get captured by the capsicums; and (b) that they don’t dry out and become gross little char-nuggets. Make sure everything is looking oily and sexy and pop in the oven at 180°C for an hour or so, until the skins of the capsicums are black and bubbly-blistered.  Your house is probably smelling mighty fine about now. Can I come over? Huh. Okay, whatever.  While your vegetables are doing their roasting thang, get yourself some stock together as follows.

The pomodoro sauce M made last night involved crushing fresh tomatoes to get as much water out of them as possible, so we had a sizeable tub of tomato juices, which I promptly bagsed and used as the basis for my stock. You can use bottled tomato juice, or even just a can of crushed tomatoes in juices.  Whatever you’ve got handy, just make sure there’s some nice tomato backbone in there.

Stock:

  • delicious tomatoey juices, fresh or bottled (about 1 1/2 cups, or one tin of crushed tomatoes)
  • three or four generous teaspoonfuls of vegetable stock powder
  • a few sprigs of thyme, stripped and finely chopped
  • a very generous squirt of balsamic vinegar
  • a very generous squirt of Tabasco sauce: work with your palette here — I wanted Zingy, so I was pretty splashy-splash-splash

Mix all of the above and taste: it should make you think of a Bloody Mary, but without the zing of vodka — like I said, it’s before ten o’clock, so you should have finished all the vodka by now.  Now add enough water to bring it up to 3 or 4 cups of stock: if you have the time to simmer your soup for hours, I recommend adding the extra water, but if you’re pressed for time, go for less.  Taste again and add some salt to make it good and flavoursome.

Bubbly, black and blistery

Bubbly, black and blistery

When your vegetables are done, let them cool awhile, just until they’re cool enough to handle.  Peel the skins from the capsicums and discard. Take your roasted purple onion, discard the over-cooked skin, and chop it just a little: keep it pretty chunky, but you want to break it up a bit so that you can spread the onion love around.

Beautiful. Now crush it!

Beautiful. Now crush it!

Then slide everything — garlic, oil, peppercorns, everything from your tray — into a waiting pan with a little hot oil in it and get it sizzling. Once everything is good and frying and aromatic, pour your stock over it. Cover and leave for about ten minutes, then taste.  Adjust salt, chillies, spiciness to your liking: throw in some cayenne pepper and/or some paprika to taste. Now turn it down, walk away. Ideally, leave it on a low temperature for an hour at least — taste again, adjust if needed, then give it as much time as you can afford.  That’s why you make your soup right after you’ve finished the morning vodka: gives the soup plenty of time to infuse and become really rich and delicious.

And then, well, when you’re ready, you know what to do: pureé the lot. You have soup!  Zingy Awesome Roast Vegetable Soup à la bethini. Will it make you as awesome as me? No. But it will allow people to compare you to me more favourably.  You’re welcome.

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