Tomato and red capsicum warmer

    50 minutes

    Sweet capsicums and tomato purée make a beautiful red soup that is sophisticated yet simple to prepare. Swirled with yogurt and accompanied by hot pesto bread, it makes a splendid starter.

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    Serves: 6 

    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, chopped
    • 700 g red capsicums, deseeded and coarsely chopped
    • 300 ml vegetable stock, preferably homemade
    • 300 ml tomato purée (passata)
    • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme
    • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 6 tbsp plain low-fat yogurt
    • salt and pepper
    • basil leaves to garnish
    • For the bread
    • 1 French bread stick
    • ¼ cup (60 g) pesto

    Preparation:25min  ›  Cook:25min  ›  Ready in:50min 

    1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. To prepare the bread, cut the French bread stick across in half so that it will fit into the oven. Cut each half into 3.5 cm thick slices, leaving the slices attached at the base. Hold the slices apart and spread each one thinly with pesto, then press them back together. Wrap the bread in foil and set aside.
    2. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and fry gently for 5 minutes or until softened but not browned. Stir in the red capsicums and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the stock and remove from the heat.
    3. Place the bread in the oven to heat for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, purée the soup in a blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pan and stir in the tomato purée, thyme, cinnamon and sugar. Heat the soup gently without allowing it to boil.
    4. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and top each portion with a tablespoon of yogurt and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with basil, then serve with the hot pesto bread.

    Some more ideas…

    For a spicy version, add 1 deseeded and finely chopped fresh red chilli with the onion, or a dash of Tabasco or other chilli sauce with the final seasoning. * Tomato and carrot soup Use 700 g finely chopped carrots instead of the red capsicums. After the stock is added, cover the pan and simmer the carrots for 10 minutes or until they are tender. Finish as in the main recipe, omitting the sugar. * Add 500 g coarsely chopped leeks, white part only, and 4 sliced celery stalks with the onion instead of the red capsicums. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the leeks are softened before adding the stock. Purée the soup and finish as in the main recipe, omitting the sugar.

    Health points

    Red capsicums are an excellent source of vitamin C – weight for weight they contain more than twice as much vitamin C as oranges. They also provide good amounts of carotenoids and bioflavonoids – both anti-oxidants that help to protect against heart disease and cancer.

    Each serving provides

    GI estimate high.

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