Grilling the peppers first gives the soup a lovely smoky flavour.
3 large red peppers
1 tbsp olive oil
1 med red onion
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp sugar
400g can chopped tomatoes
1l/1 ¾ pint veg stockpot
4 tbsp torn fresh basil
salt and pepper
Put the whole peppers under a preheted grill – 7-10cm away from the heat. Grill them, turning frequently, until their skins are black and blistered. Carefully put them in a plastic bag and leave to cool.
Peel the skins off the cooled peppers, cut them open and collect the juices. Remove and discard all seeds and white membrane, then cut the flesh into small pieces.
Put the oil, onion, garlic and sugar into a pan. Cook gently for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and beginning to turn golden brown. Add the tomatoes, peppers (with their reserved juices), stock and basil. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for about 15 minutes.
Leave to cool slightly, then tip the mixture into a food processor or liquidiser and puree until smooth. Season to taste.