My Bonfire Soup is tomato with a bite to it provided by the spice harissa. Bonfire Night (November 5th) in the UK used to be highly anticipated – the one night in the year when we could let off fireworks. The build up began a few days earlier with the making of the ‘Guy’ (to represent Guy Fawkes who tried to blow up Parliament). We would take a pair of pantyhose and stuff them with newspaper to make the legs. We would pester parents for old clothes to dress the guy properly and he would be hoisted to the top of the bonfire where he would await the flames. The building of the bonfire itself entailed combing the garden for pieces of wood and any other bits and pieces of stuff that would burn well. Being England we hoped it wouldn’t rain else all our efforts would have been in vain. Different families would host a party every year. Fathers would debate how to light the fire, wonder which way the wind was coming from and sort out the fireworks fortified by the odd beer or two. Food was served – soup, sausages, parkin, toffee apples – all outside in the dark. It was magical.
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion – finely chopped
2 large cloves of garlic – minced
4 oz. carrots – diced
3 oz. celery – diced
1 tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes – chopped
2 x 26 oz. cartons chopped tomatoes (Pomi brand)
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp. harissa
Place 1 tbsp. olive oil in cast iron casserole dish. Reserve 1 tbsp. olive oil to mix with harissa.
When sizzling, add onion and soften a little before adding garlic.
Cook a few minutes longer, then add carrots and celery.
Cook for a few minutes, then add sun-dried tomatoes, tomatoes, veg. broth and harissa mixed with 1 tbsp. olive oil.
Bring soup to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
Puree in food processor.