The British hospital visitor takes a bunch of grapes for a patient. Jewish people feed chicken soup “penicillin” to the ailing. While a Polish friend cured my chronic sore throat with a mixture of grated apple, honey and sugar. Every nation has its traditional medicinal foods.
Many of these cures contain vitamin C, especially to help people overcome colds or ‘flu. But one of the richest sources of this vitamin actually comes from peppers, otherwise known as bell peppers or capsicums.
Like tomatoes, peppers are classified as fruits but treated in culinary terms as vegetables. A hundred grammes of raw pepper contains 97 per cent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. As the average pepper weighs between 113-142 grammes, then just one pepper is more than sufficient.
Vitamin C is easily lost through cooking so raw peppers remain the most nutritious. But this recipe ensures a lot of the liquids which the peppers are cooked in are retained as the lid can be left on the pan most of the time. So this red pepper soup should have some vital vitamin C as well as being extremely tasty!
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
2 large red peppers (deseeded and finely chopped)
½ onion (finely chopped)
1 small courgette (finely chopped with the skin on)
1 medium tomato (deseeded and finely chopped)
1 clove of garlic (peeled and chopped)
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
Vegetable stock cube
1 level teaspoon of sweet paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Peel and finely chop the onion and courgette. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Deseed and chop the tomato
2. Remove and discard the seeds and stalks of the red peppers. Chop the peppers into 1cm pieces
3. Boil the water in a kettle and measure out 500ml. Dissolve the stock cube in the water
4. In a small saucepan, boil two tablespoons of white wine vinegar and reduce it completely. Add the vegetable stock and set aside
5. Over a low heat, sweat the onion and pepper pieces in 20g of butter for five minutes
6. Add the courgette, tomato and garlic, and sweat for a further five minutes
7. Add the reduced vinegar and vegetable stock and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a level teaspoon of sweet paprika and stir
8. Liquidise the soup until very fine and sieve
9. Season to taste