Spicy Red Vegetable Mediterranean Soup

Basque soup (2)

OK I know tomatoes are a fruit, but I couldn’t resist taking poetic licence…………….

This is actually a variation of ‘Guy’s Soup’ the very first soup that I ever made from a recipe given to me by a very dear and now departed friend named Guy………My children were actually weaned on a salt free version of his soup with potato to thicken it a little.

This particular incarnation brings in the flavours of the med with the addition of red peppers and chorizo, and ‘piment d’espelette’ which is made from dried chilli peppers that grow in the region around Perpignon close to the French/Spanish border, it has a distinctive sweet smokey flavour and due to its rarity, is quite pricey, if you cannot find this, then a smoked, sweet paprika works as a substitute

France-Piment_d'Espelette-2005-08-05[1]

The closer you get to the Italian border the more the Italian influence is felt in the South of France, in fact Menton, my personal favourite resort in the south, was once part of Italy, so it was damn rude not to include a handful of pasta. Ciao Bella!

Ingredients
serves 2 generously

1 small red onion finely diced

1 large red pepper finely diced

4 large ripe tomatoes roughly chopped

1 clove garlic crushed

4-6 slices of chorizo roughly chopped

A pinch of red chilli flakes

A good pinch of piment d’espelette

A good glug of olive oil

1 litre (1 ¾ pints) vegetable stock

Dried basil and salt and pepper to taste

A handful of very small pasta such as conchigliette

Method

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion and peppers and chorizo for 2-23 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften and the chorizo begins to brown a little

Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes taking care not to brown the onions or garlic

Add the chilli flakes and the piment d’espelette and dried basil

Stir in the hot vegetable stock, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked

Add the pasta and season with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

Cook for a further 10-15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked

Serve with some nice rustic bread as a lunch or supper dish, or alone as a starter – be careful with the quantity though as it is quite filling – but it is so delicious that you may decide just to finish the bowl and go straight to dessert…………….bon apetit!

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