Thursday, 17 December 2009

Pepper Soup with Almond Butter

You can use red, yellow or orange peppers for this soup or a mix of colours depending on what’s available and the colour that you want to end up with. Don’t use green – or purple or black for that matter, which I think are just green peppers disguising themselves. The idea of this soup is to have some background spice with a hint of heat but without overwhelming the taste of the peppers and almonds.  To provide the spice this recipe uses ras el hanout, which varies a lot from one spice seller to the next so it may be necessary vary the amount. If the blend is already hot, then leave out the chilli flakes.

I used a jar of almond butter but you can make your own purée from roasted almonds and possibly a little salt – it’s not difficult, it’s just a bit of a faff. There’s plenty of guidance around if you want to try – on C'est moi qui l'ai fait ! for instance.

Pepper and Almond Soup 1a


This recipe makes around 4 bowlfuls.

4 peppers (red, yellow or orange)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 potato (around 250 g is about right)
A pinch of dried chilli
½ tsp ras el hanout
1 litre vegetable stock
2 generous tsp almond “butter” or purée

Skin the peppers: I grill them until blackened, place in a sealed plastic bag while they cool and the skin comes off easily. The advice is often given to carry out this last stage under running water to make the job easier but that method wastes the lovely pepper juice. If you want to retain the pure colour of the peppers, try steaming them for 5 –10 minutes instead of grilling – I don’t think the flavour will be as good, though.

Soften the onion in a fairly big frying pan with a spray of oil, adding a splash of water to prevent it burning, if necessary. Peel and chop the potato into small chunks. When the onion has softened a little (but not coloured) add the potato, chilli flakes and ras el hanout. Stir it all together and pour over the stock. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan and let it bubble away very gently for 25 minutes or so until the potato is very tender.

Let the potato mixture cool a little and then liquidise it together with the pepper flesh. Stir in the almond butter and adjust the seasoning. Make sure that you add the almond butter before seasoning since it can be a little salty.