I have often read that fruits and vegetables richest in colour provide the most abundant health benefits; this soup is a wonderful sunset red – a therapeutic marriage of tomatoes, sweet peppers, and roasted garlic. If you are lucky enough to have seasonal tomatoes I think they would make an even tastier soup, but here in Vancouver we still have a substantial wait for anything resembling fresh and sun-kissed. This soup was inspired by the tomato soup recipe (variation number two) in Mollie Katzen’s The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, my mom used to make this when I was little (and not-so-little) and I have nothing but warm memories when I think of eating the soup in front of our fireplace on windy nights when the force of the wind would make whistling sounds as it traveled down our chimney. Now I make this soup for my boyfriend and I, our own unique culinary memories being forged which although different are equally as satisfying – just as this deviation from the original seeks to provide nothing more than a sunny variation on something already perfect.
4 sweet peppers, cut into 1-inch thick strips
8 cloves of garlic in their papers, the tips sliced off
3 Tbsp. of olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 medium white onion, minced finely
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes with their juices
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 cup of vegetable stock
1 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3 oz. plain cream cheese
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and arrange the pepper strips and garlic cloves on a baking sheet (I like to put all of my roasting things on top of parchment paper.) Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil and then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and roast for 30-40 minutes, the longer they remain in the oven the sweeter they will be. Once they’re done you can remove their skins if you’d like but in this case they’re just going to be pureed in with the rest of the soup so I don’t bother. However, do remove the garlic from its papery husk by squeezing like a tube of toothpaste.
2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat and saute the onions, adding a pinch of salt so that they sweat instead of crisping up. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until soft. Add the stock, tomatoes, oregano, cloves, and honey. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Allow the soup to cool slightly before adding the roasted peppers and garlic before blending to a fairly smooth consistency (or don’t wait, but blend only a cup at a time and use a tea towel over the opening of the blender.)
3. Return the blended soup to the stove over medium heat and add the cream cheese. The cream cheese sometimes takes a surprisingly long time to fully incorporate into the soup, so stir periodically until the soup is a smooth and soft red-orange colour. This is also good served with tiny croutons sprinkled on top or snippets of fresh chives.
I remember reading somewhere that one of Mahogany’s members is an architect – this seems like music composed with angles, structure, and specificity in mind. I am so utterly in love with this band because the music is so consistently tight but fluid enough to move from an indie pop song such as this to spacey shoegaze Cocteau Twins-inspired dreampop, which is no surprise as Robin Guthrie produces Mahogany’s albums and his daughter (with Elizabeth Fraser) makes the occasional vocal appearance.
Mahogany – One Plus One Equals Three Or More