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Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup 4Feb11

Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

It’s a pretty chilly Winter this year. I feel like I could stay inside for about 3 months until the sun comes out, snow melts and we can all wear regular clothes again. Winter automatically means soups for me. Noodle soups, instant soups, creamy soups, or just your typical tomato soup. It’s the best time for soups! I made a giant batch of my roasted red pepper tomato soup that lasted me a couple days. It’s not your typical tomato soup. The roasted red pepper adds the perfect amount of smokiness to the tomato’s acidity. Mmm, I kind of want to make another batch now. I had the best grilled cheese with this soup – smoked gouda on crusty rosemary bread! Also goes well with a dollop of guacamole or a drizzle of pesto. The possibilities are endless, almost makes me enjoy Winter…almost.

Ingredients:
2 medium red bell peppers
4 medium tomatoes
1 can of whole peeled tomatoes
2 cups of vegetable stock
4 sprigs of fresh oregano
1 medium onion diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
4 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
pinch of cayenne pepper
sea salt, to taste
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 sprig of green onion, chopped
1 sprig of cilantro
1 dollop of sour cream

Preheat oven to 325°F or 160°C

Step 1: Roast!
Place your whole tomatoes stem side up on a baking tray. Take a knife and slit the top with a X across the stem. Place in the oven for 30 minutes at 325°F or 160°C. Meanwhile, on your stovetop (this will only work with a gas top stove), place your bell peppers on top of the stove right over the flame. Be sure to use tongs! Rotate every few minutes until you get a charred pepper. Place each roasted pepper into a glass or plastic bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 15 minutes. When 15 minutes is up, take your pepper out and peel the skin off. DO NOT WASH THE PEPPER! You’ll lose that amazing roasted flavor. Peel your pepper, take out the seeds and stem. Slice into large chunks and set aside for later. Once your tomatoes are ready, take them out of the oven and carefully peel off the skin. Be careful, it’s hot! It should peel right off. You can throw those in the same bowl as the pepers for later.

Step 2: Simmer!
In a large pot, melt about 2 tablespoons of butter. Throw in the diced onion and garlic and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Cook that down on medium heat until the onion is translucent. Now add in the bay leaf, oregano leaves, pinch of cayenne, vegetable stock and can of tomatoes. Crush up the tomatoes as you add them in or break them up with a spoon. Once the mixture comes to a simmer, add in your roasted pepper and tomatoes. Mix it all together and let that simmer for about 45 minutes on low heat. Taste and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper along the way.

Step 3: Blend!
Once the soup has been simmering for a good 45 minutes, fish out the bay leaves and any oregano stems that might have made their way in. If you have a submersion blender, go ahead and blend the soup until smooth and creamy. If you don’t, you’ll need another pot on a low heat while you blend. Ladle in a little bit at a time in a blender and make sure to keep the top little clear lid open and cover with a towel. Please be extremely careful, it’s hot! And one bad move you could have tomato soup all over your walls. Believe me, I’ve done that before! Pour the blended mixture into the new pot while you finish blending the rest of the soup. Once you have the blended soup in one pot, let that slowly simmer for another 15 minutes. Stir in another 2 tablespoons of butter. Season with some more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, sprinkle of green onion and cilantro. I made grilled cheese sandwiches the first night, then a very delicious (and healthy) grilled zucchini wrap for lunch, then another grilled cheese the next time. I think my all time favorite is smoked gouda grilled cheese with this soup… just scrumptious! Stay warm everyone!

Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

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