There are many people who don’t like mixing fruit & veg, or whatever is culturally, rather than botanically, defined as such. I’m not one of them. I love mixing flavours across categories. I first encountered pepper & pear soup at a café called The Crypt in Glasgow. It’s an amazing place inside an old church that offers simple, but tasty meals to students and other people in the vicinity of the university. Their soups are always excellent, and pepper and pear is my favourite one. They have published a little booklet with recipes, but I have lost it while moving back to London.
The main thing about making pepper and pear soup is that you have water, red peppers and pears. Everything else around it can be improvised. Basically, the fewer ingredients, the longer you cook it at a lower heat to draw out all of the flavour. Tonight’s recipe included:
3 red peppers
2 Williams pears
1/2 red chilli
Cut the peppers into halves and roast them under a grill or over a gas flame/open fire/barbecue until the skin is charred. Peel off the skin and cut the peppers into pieces.
Heat oil in a pot or sauce pan, but not too hot. Peel and chop the shallots and pears. Add to the pot along with the pepper pieces and the chopped chilli. Stir for a while.
Next, add the vegetable stock. Cook everything until tender and blend until smooth. If too liquid or too bland, add tomato puree, a bit of sugar and/or more vegetable stock.
You can also add other vegetables – many people add carrots and herbs – but I prefer the soup quite basic. Try to get very flavoursome peppers and pears, though the soup will also work with blander types.
I usually have the soup with bread, butter & raspberry jam.