‘Red hot chili pepper’ soup

‘Red hot chili pepper’ soup

New Middle Eastern Food
Mark Roper

This spicy soup was created when the American band was touring Australia in 1992. Use between one and three chillies — or more, of course — depending on your stamina. Squat, thick-skinned capsicums are best for this soup, as they are easy to skin.


Quantity Ingredient
3 large red capsicums
2 medium onions
2 garlic cloves
1-3 bullet chillies
60ml olive oil
4 whole tomatoes, skinned and diced
40ml dry sherry
600ml vegetable or good-quality chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 sprigs thyme, tied with string
2 whole bay leaves
1 teaspoon honey
goat’s cheese and extra-virgin olive oil, to serve


  1. Roast the whole capsicums over a gas flame, or under the griller, turning constantly until they are blackened and blistered all over. This takes about 20 minutes. Put them into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow them to steam and soften for another 10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, slice the onions finely and chop the garlic and chillies, seeds included. Sauté in the oil over a low–medium heat until they are soft and translucent. Then add the peeled, roughly diced tomatoes and sauté for a further 20 minutes. (To skin the tomatoes, pour boiling water over them, pierce the skin and peel it off.)
  3. Once the capsicums are cooled, peel off the skins, making sure you remove any blackened bits that will make the soup bitter and unattractive. Remove the seeds too, then roughly chop the capsicums and add them to the tomato–onion mixture.
  4. Add the sherry and stock and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the bundle of thyme and the bay leaves. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Blitz the mixture in a blender or food processor until it is very smooth, which will take about 3 minutes on high speed.
  5. If you are fussy about presentation, tip the soup through a fine sieve, which will also remove any chilli seeds. Thin the soup with a little extra stock or water if required.
  6. Serve it with a blob of goat’s cheese and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
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