Our friend Laurie is at home recuperating from a tonsillectomy, OD’ing on popsicles and Jell-O. Solid food is distant on the horizon. Feel better soon, Laurie!
I thought something savory might be a welcome break, but it needed to be puréed. Soup was the logical answer. Gazpacho was a favorite cold lunch back in our steamy Washington, DC days. In chilly Wisconsin, I make a tomato and roasted red pepper pasta sauce. This soup is a combination of the two dishes. It’ll be a while before Laurie is ready for anything more intense than Italian ice, but when she is, this soup will be in her fridge.
I used roasted red peppers from a jar, mostly because 1) fresh red peppers are still muy expensive here in the Great Lakes (out of season), and 2) roasted peppers are one of those rare foods that are actually really terrific in a jar. Not that Laurie isn’t worth the fresh peppers (you are, Laurie! you are!), but I happened to have a jar of beautiful Italian roasted peppers in my pantry.
The soup, served hot, is reminiscent of a really good tomato soup, but with a deeper, more complex flavor. Cold, it’s similar to a gazpacho, but smoother both in texture and in taste.
That little splash of cream is a luxurious finishing touch. It’s also an effective way to lessen the heat of a too-spicy dish, if that’s an issue. Fresno chiles aren’t very hot, but I wanted to make sure Laurie had a mellow soup for that sore throat. The cream made sure of that.
Check out this post and other great soups (and salads and sammies) on Souper Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen.
Roasted Red Pepper Soup
4 bowls, or 8-10 appetizer-style shots
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs. olive oil
1 fresno chile, chopped (or another red chile)
salt and pepper
2 cups coarsely chopped roasted red peppers*
2 cups skinned, chopped tomatoes**
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
3 tbs. chopped fresh basil
2 tbs. heavy cream
minced chives, chive flowers, or basil sprigs for garnish
In a large saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in the oil until translucent. Add the fresno, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until the chile is tender and the onions are lightly browned. Add the roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. You’re looking for the veggies to be breaking down a bit, and for the flavors to meld.
Purée the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in the basil, and give it another whirl so that the basil is reduced to green flecks. Stir in the cream.
Serve this soup hot, or refrigerate it and serve cold.