Learn how to make tomato soup and upgrade your kitchen skills.
Better health starts in the kitchen, so it helps if you know how to cook – and there’s an easy way to do it. By mastering the techniques in a handful of simple recipes, you’ll be prepared for anything involving a knife and a pan. Grab an apron – it’s time to go to culinary school with chef Adam Grey
A can of store-bought soup often contains more sugar than a bowl of Frosties, alongside other undesirable elements that include MSG, modified starches and mechanically separated meat. This home-cooked version cuts out all the bad stuff, and packs in a double-dose of capsaicin-heavy peppers to kick-start your metabolism. Serve it hot in the winter or chilled with a dash of herb oil in the summer – either way, it’s a spicy little number.
Photography: Ben Backhouse
De-seeding red peppers
Prepping peppers is laborious unless you know how. Slice off the top and bottom, then make a neat vertical slice down the pepper, allowing you to open it up. Put it skin-side down and work the knife along the inside with the blade parallel to your worksurface, removing the “ribs” and seeds as you unroll it. You’ll end up with a flat, seed-free pepper, ready for chopping.
Cooking onions is something you’ll do a lot, so do it right. Keep the pan on a medium heat until your oil shimmers, then toss them in. Stir occasionally – you don’t need to throw them around like it’s a cooking show. Unless the recipe demands it, don’t let them start to brown. And remember: red onions are sweeter, so you can get away with cooking them less.
Blending soups safely
Rule one of using a blender: be careful with hot stuff. When you blend soup, steam forms and increases the pressure, which can pop the top off. The fix? Either remove your blender’s central plug and cover the hole with a tea towel or, if you’ve got a holeless blender, start on low and blend gently. Alternatively, invest in a hand-blender and do it all in the pan.
Why Cook With…
If you’re cooking with peppers, bet on red: they have the highest concentration of vitamin C, as well as fat-burning capsaicin and an array of other helpful phytochemicals, including a rare combination of six carotenoids.
Go hot if you can take it – the spicier the chilli, the higher it is in capsaicin, a fat burner that’s may also help reduce some types of inflammation. There’s also some evidence that chillies can reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides, lowering your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Tomatoes – canned or fresh – are your best source of the carotenoid pigment lycopene, which studies suggest can help prevent prostate, lung and stomach cancers. They’re also an exception to the rule that cooking destroys nutrients – lycopene is better absorbed when it’s been heated.
- 8 red peppers, de-seeded and cut into 2cm pieces
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 red chillies, finely sliced
- 8 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 100ml rapeseed oil
- 1.5 litres vegetable stock Salt and pepper
How To Make
- Prepare the peppers, onion, chillies and tomatoes as directed.
- Heat a large thick-based sauce pan to a medium heat.
- Add the rapeseed oil to the pan.
- Add the onions and chillies to the pan and cook for five minutes, stirring with a spatula until they start to soften.
- Add the red peppers and continue to cook for a further five minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the tomatoes and continue to cook until they start to soften.
- Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil.
- Simmer the soup gently for 15 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.
- Serve the soup chunky, or blitz it in a blender if you prefer a smooth consistency.
Written by Joel Snape for Coach and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.