Gazpacho

Spanish chilled summer soup

Peter Flynn

I was first introduced to Gazpacho by Teresina, who had come back from staying au pair in northern Spain, and had several Spanish recipes she had picked up. This version is based on the ones in Anna MacMiadhacháin's Spanish Regional Cookery (Penguin, 0-14-046230-9), where she gives three variations. The one from Extremadura is the least complex, and I like the chicken bits (Anna says they sometimes use rabbit instead). The recipe said half a loaf, which is excessive, but the chicken is optional.

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Serves 4.


Ingredients

  • 1 × 400 g can ripe tomatoes (or fresh, very ripe tomatoes if you can get them)
  • ½ cucumbers
  • ½ sweet red peppers (or a red or green bell pepper)
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • ½ small onions (or a few spring onions)
  • 1 small slice country-style white bread
  • small bunch of chopped parsley
  • small bunch of chopped mint
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or rapeseed oil)
  • 200 g shredded chicken (see tip)
  • handful icecubes

Half this, half that, quarter this…I double the lot and then everyone can have a second bowl. Keep some of the parsley and mint back to sprinkle as a decoration.


Method

  1. If you’re using fresh tomatoes, put them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them to loosen the skins.

  2. While they’re doing, peel and chop the cucumbers, de-seed and chop the peppers, and finely chop the garlic and onion, all into a big bowl.

  3. [Fresh tomatoes] The skins should by now have become detached (if not, peel them off). Quarter them, remove the skins, cores and seeds into a sieve over a small bowl. Add the flesh to the big bowl.

    Squeeze out the remaining liquid from the sieve into the small bowl and use it to soak the bread (toss the skins, cores, and seeds or add them to your stockpot).

  4. [Tinned tomatoes] Pour a little of the juice over the bread in a small bowl and leave to soften for a minute. Add the rest of the tomatoes to the big bowl.

  5. Add the soaked bread and any remaining tomato liquid to the bowl, with the parsley, mint, tomato purée, salt, pepper, vinegar, and oil (basically everything except the shredded chicken and icecubes) into the blender if you have one, or use a wand, or put it through a vegetable mill or pound together in a large mortar.

    Some people like it blended to a fine purée, other like it with a more chunky texture. Your call. Add the icecubes half-way through mixing.

  6. If it seems too thick, add a little cold water. Taste to adjust the seasoning, and add the chicken. Decorate with the herbs.


Chill and serve with more icecubes if needed, and lots of fresh bread with unsalted butter (the Guinness Bread 🔗 is excellent), and of course a big jug of wine.


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