This is an intensely flavoured and heavily fragrant soup that can be served warm or chilled.
In some recipes the peppers (also called capsicums) are charred or grilled and then cooked in the soup.
There are many variations to this soup, some use butter or cream to thicken and enrich the soup. Different herbs like tarragon, basil, coriander, or fresh oregano can replace the thyme and I have seen recipes that include an additional vegetable, for example a bulb of fennel, leek or a couple of red tomatoes, but whatever the recipe you are aiming for a very concentrated, soup with Mediterranean flavours – you could almost choose one of the countries and vary the ingredients to suit (for example for Italian tastes, I would chose olive oil in preference to butter and select basil or oregano as my herbs, for a Middle Eastern flavours, coriander etc).
My friend made this very simple soup that relies heavily on the flavours of the peppers. We are staying with her on the Gold Coast in Queensland and red peppers are very much in season here. Our soup was accompanied with slices of toasted, crusty bread spread with a paste made of feta, olive oil, a little lemon juice and thinly sliced spring onion. I liked this more than adding a dollop of cream or yogurt at the point of serving. Goat’s curd (chevre) could also be used instead of the feta.
large red peppers, 6 cut into small pieces large onions, 2 chopped
extra virgin olive oil, ½ cup
vegetable or chicken stock, 4 cups
fresh thyme, to taste
salt and black pepper to taste
cloves of garlic, 3 large crushed
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions the red peppers and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add garlic and wine and cook quickly on high heat, to evaporate the wine. Add stock, thyme, salt and pepper, cover and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 30-40 minutes.
Puree the mixture with a blender/ food processor until smooth.
Add a few chopped herbs for colour – we ran out of thyme and in this instance added a little chopped parsley and coriander – maybe a little bit too much of a melange and fusion of flavours, but it was delicious.