Wednesday, January 30, 2008

29.01.08: Yellow Sunshine Soup

I set out to evoke some January sunshine with this sweetcorn (2X£1, Iceland) chowder, thickened with yellow split peas (1kg, about 75p) and potatoes (half a bag of them Roosters that were going cheap, 50p) and enlivened by yellow bell peppers (eight; £3 from Oli's) plus a 680g jar of tatli biber salcasi, sweet red pepper paste (£1.79). I was late getting going this morning, for reasons I won't go into suffice it say the neighbours have noticed my speaker is fixed, and the soup wasn't ready before 12.45pm.

I did it by soaking the kilo of yellow split peas over night and simmering them for half an hour this morning while sweating a mirepoix of onion and leek and carrot and celery. I cleaned half a dozen yellow peppers, removing their cores and seeds and cutting them into inch wide segments, and roasted them in a hot oven with a generous splash of oil. I peeled and roughly cubed the potatoes, adding them to the soup pot, stirring, turning down the heat and adding a splash of liquid to prevent sticking. Then I added half the cooked split peas to the pot with a couple of litres of Marigold bouillon and brought the pot back to simmer.

For that sweet smack of sunshine, I wanted pure flavour and none of the stuck-in-the-teeth texture of sweetcorn. Or bell peppers, FTM. So, I boiled up the frozen sweetcorn with a couple of litres of Marigold bouillon and churned it with Brenda the blender, adding the roasted yellow peppers and blending again and then forced the mixture through a sieve to obtain a broth so rich and luxurious it would have made the Jolly Green Giant impersonate Freddie Mercury: Galileo, Magnifico!

Brenda thoroughly blended my mirepoix mixed with potato and split peas into a smooth puree, to which I added the strained sweetcorn 'n' pepper liquid, the remainder of the cooked split peas and the contents of a jar of sweet red pepper paste. This last ingredient, of course, turned the yellow soup orange. Finally, I finely diced the two remaining raw yellow peppers for garnish and to give the soup a touch of crunch, which seemed to go down well with the seventeen soupees who tried it, several of whom had seconds.

No comments: