There's eating and drinking in this soup with Welsh Rarebit

Lilly Higgins: With some bread for dipping, soup is an easy and fast solution to dinner time

Roasted red pepper and tomato soup with Welsh Rarebit

Roasted red pepper and tomato soup with Welsh Rarebit

 

Soup season has officially started and is in full swing. I’ve finally sourced soup bowls with handles, much to my children’s delight. It makes drinking soup so much easier for little hands as any light soups can be incredibly messy where toddlers are involved. A soup can be a whole meal with both eating and drinking in it. With some bread for dipping, it’s an easy and fast solution to dinner time. Paired with a filling carbohydrate, soup can be a good way to incorporate even more vegetables into your diet. I love to pair black bean soup with piles of crunchy tortilla chips; potato and leek soup with chive and cheddar scones; or I add some wholewheat pasta to minestrone. Another favourite addition to soup in our house is thick fried slices of chorizo, along with the highly flavoured oils released during frying. I make leftover sourdough bread into crunchy croutons. Just tear the bread into rough bite-size chunks, drizzle with olive oil and season with dried herbs, sea salt or spices. 

My favourite luxurious twist on the classic cheese and toast is Welsh Rarebit. It’s a delicious cheese sauce made with beer or stout and enriched with egg. I still use my Nana’s original recipe. Like all good family recipes, she wrote it on the back of a brown envelope that we all still look to when we need to make this delicious tea time dish. 

This soup is a great way to use up any leftover homegrown tomatoes. With roast vegetable based soups I like to place the tray of vegetables into the oven to roast when I have something else in the oven. Roasting ensures a richer flavour. So if I’m baking in the morning or the day before, I’ll roast the vegetables then and keep them in the fridge or freezer till I’m ready to transform them into soup.

Roasted red pepper and tomato soup with Welsh Rarebit

Serves 4

600g Tomatoes
2 Red peppers
2 Red onions
15g Basil leaves
450ml chicken or vegetable stock 
Salt and black pepper
2 tsp Dijon mustard
60ml beer or stout (I like Eight Degrees Knockmealdown Porter)
60g butter
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, to taste
350g mature farmhouse cheese, grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
4 slices of bread

Preheat the oven to 200C. Roughly chop the tomatoes and peppers and place on a large baking tray. Cut the onion into thick wedges and add to the tray. Drizzle with oil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes till the onions are slightly singed at the corners and the the peppers blistered. Set aside to cool slightly. Blitz the roasted vegetables, along with half the basil. Sieve the soup to ensure it is smooth and creamy. Discard the skins and seeds that are left. Add stock to the smooth roast vegetable puree till the desired consistency is reached. Taste for seasoning. Set aside and keep warm. 

Next make the Welsh Rarebit. Mix the mustard and a little stout to make a paste in a small pan. Add the remaining stout, the butter and the Worcestershire sauce. Gently heat until the butter melts. Stir in the cheese to melt, but don’t let the mixture boil. Stir until smooth, then taste for seasoning. Remove from the heat and keep slightly warm while you toast the bread. Heat the grill and toast the bread on both sides. Beat the eggs and yolk into the cheese sauce. Once smooth, spoon it generously onto the toast and grill until bubbling and golden.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with the warm Welsh Rarebit toasts.

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