The story starts with caramelised onions. I love caramelised onions, but can never be bothered to baby sit a pot of onions for an hour on end. Yes, an hour – that’s how long you are supposed to slowly fry them for on the stove. As much as I love good food, I’d much prefer to spend an hour doing a big list of other things than baby sitting onions. So this recipe will not require you nearly as much effort. You just need an oven or a slow cooker.
Slowly roasted vegetables, given enough time under gentle heat, give out their natural sweetness and caramelise to intensify their flavour. Soup made with vegetables that had been slowly roasted first, tastes far better than one that’s simply boiled. I often do an onion soup or a pumpkin soup the same way, but never thought to write about them. This capsicum and onion soup is just that little bit unusual, so hopefully this is not going to be a recipe amongst the 1,001 other near-identical ones on the internet. The steps are actually quite simple, but I added some wordy explanation for what you can expect.
First, for caramelised onions and capsicum:
- Find a large oven proof pot (or use your slow cooker). Half fill it with sliced onions, and top the pot up to the brim with quartered capsicums. After roasting, you’ll end up with only a quarter to a third of the pot of vegetables. You’ll need about a litre’s worth of caramelised onions and capsicums to make 2 large servings of soup. (That’s how much Kiwi Bird and I went through for a dinner.)
- Add about 2 tablespoons of butter for every litre capacity your pot holds. The butter doesn’t need to be melted. Just spoon some on.
- If you use a slow cooker, leave it for 8 hours on the low setting. Otherwise, cover the pot with a lid and put into the oven at 150C for 3 hours, or until the capsicum basically melts when you try to pick it up. You don’t need to specifically turn the oven on to do this. Next time when you have the oven on, just do this on the side. Because it’s covered with a lid, the content won’t burn so it’s ok if you have the oven temperature set higher for your other cooking. When you’re done with the other cooking, check how well done the onion and capsicum are. Depending on how cooked they are, turn the oven down for more cooking, or simply turn the oven off but leave the pot in there to finish off caramelising.
- Once the capsicum is cooled, peel the skin off. The skin should slide off really easily if they were well roasted. Skip this step if you are not bothered by the texture of the skin in your soup.
- There’ll be liquid with your roasted vegetables. Don’t discard any! They are like the essence of the vegetables. Divide the roasted onion and capsicum into plastic pots and freeze until you require them.
For 2 large serving of the soup, you’ll need:
- 1 litre box of the caramelised onion and capsicum
- 1/4 cup standard flour
- 1 litre water
- a tablespoon of chopped thyme (optional)
- a slug of brandy or dry white wine (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
Follow these steps:
- Add about 1/2 cup of water into the flour and mix to a solution.
- Put the onion and capsicum in a pot and stir in the flour-water, thyme and brandy if using.
- Put the pot on the stove over medium heat. Stir until the vegetable mixture breaks up and thickens.
- Add water until you reach your desired thickness and continue to heat until just boiling.
- Add about 1 teaspoon of salt to taste and grind over some pepper.
- Serve with slices of crusty bread with some cheese melted on top.
Having this soup feels like drinking the essence of capsicum and all its summer warmth. I hope you’ll fall in love with this soup, as well as this method of making soup. We certainly do!