Tomato, garlic and chilli soup

It’s raining heavily here today, and although I don’t exactly need an excuse to make soup, I do believe that one of the most comforting things to do is to sip hot homemade soup while watching the rain fall.

So that’s what I did! And as a bonus, the warming scent of the soup cooking permeates the whole bungalow, building the anticipation and making my mouth water.

I’ve used a tomato base this time, with plenty of herbs and spices to complement the garlic and chilli.

It’ll still be delicious if it isn’t raining!

I’m using pearl garlic at the moment which comes in large single cloves (I get it from Lidl), it has a great flavour and as well as being lovely in this soup it roasts very well too. The cloves are pretty huge, I’ve added a photo of one below with a 20 p piece so you can see the size!

Tomato, garlic and chilli soup

Tomato, garlic and chilli soup

makes 4 servings

2 small or 1 large onion, sliced

1 stick celery, chopped

1 400 g tin plum tomatoes

1 small red or yellow pepper, chopped

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (or 2 cloves pearl garlic)

1 red chilli, sliced (I left the seeds in but you could remove them)

2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp dried rosemary

1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp paprika

salt and black pepper

800 ml light vegetable stock, hot

a pinch of sugar, optional

60 ml vermouth, optional

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees c.

Put all of the ingredients apart from the salt, pepper, sugar and vermouth in a large ovenproof casserole pot.

Pearl garlic, giant!

Pearl garlic, giant!

Cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour 45 minutes.

Remove the pot from the oven and place on the hob on a medium heat. Smush the tomatoes into the soup, they should be very soft. Add the vermouth and bubble for a minute or two. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and a pinch of sugar to balance the flavour if your tomatoes were a little acidic.

By E.

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