I’m beginning to have quite a list of things I can’t find in Buenos Aires (or am unwilling to pay the quadruple-inflated price for them when found). Maple syrup, for one. Chocolate chips for another. But perhaps the most frustrating to me, personally, is the absence of pre-prepared canned soup. I got walloped last week with a double smack of internet outage and the common cold – all I wanted to do was eat chicken soup, and the last thing I wanted to do was make that soup from scratch. Perhaps Argentines have different cold remedies, I don’t know. They do have a good variety of bagged soup mixes, but these are just not as good as a supermarket aisle full of Progresso, Campbell’s, and Chunky. Really, the soup from scratch was delicious and much cheaper, so I shouldn’t complain.
As I improved, I still wanted soup, but chicken soup was not so necessary, so I decided to branch out to tomato soup. Although I was still in the midst of the internet outage, I vaguely recalled reading a recipe for it, and decided to make up the rest. The result was delicious and healthy, and altogether quite easy to make – and much easier with a sweet husband willing to do my grocery shopping for me
Homemade Tomato & Pepper Soup
Makes at least 6 servings
2 cans whole tomatoes (800 grams/28 ounces)*
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
3 small/medium bell peppers (any color not green)**
1 tsp dried thyme
1 ½ tsp paprika
20 cranks fresh black pepper
1 bay leaf
3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt to taste
*If you prefer, you could use 4-5 fresh tomatoes for this recipe. Just follow step one from the recipe linked above.
**The second time I made this, I used monster red peppers that also had some green on them, and the pepper taste overwhelmed the tomato taste. If you can only find really big peppers, use only 2.
-Blender or immersion blender (note: soup can be left unblended, but it will be chunky, and not smooth like traditional tomato soup)
1) Roughly chop your onion, seed and chop bell peppers. If you don’t have a blender and are planning for chunkier soup, make sure to chop these into bite-sized chunks.
2) In a medium-large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and peppers and sauté 5 minutes.
3) Add chicken or vegetable stock, tomato paste, and spices, excluding salt. Hint: if you want thicker soup, go for 3 cups of stock; thinner soup, go for 4.
4) This part gets a little messy: you want to keep as many of the tomato seeds out of the soup as possible, especially if not using a blender. Reach into your can of tomatoes and squeeze the seedy insides into the can, removing only the tomato meat to the soup – I find it helps to use my thumbs. Also make sure that no peels go into the pot – some “peeled” tomatoes are more peeled than others.
5) Give everything a good stir, cover, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to low and simmer for 35-40 minutes.
6) Remove the bay leaf and blend up everything to your heart’s content. An immersion blender is best for this, but if you don’t have one, ladle the contents carefully into an upright blender (very hot!).
7) Taste and add salt as desired. The amount of salt really depends on the saltiness of the stock used.
This soup is wonderful served hot with some slices of avocado, and also with a grilled cheese. I also found that it was delightful served cold the next day – it’s finally getting to be warm here down south Hasta luego!