Eat Local: Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
As summer yields to autumn and the shorter days grow cooler, the time has come to enjoy the last of summer’s fruits and vegetables. This recipe is excellent with September red bell peppers that have grown to full maturity over a long season, concentrating their flavor and sweetness.
For best results, choose varieties of pepper (Capsicum annuum) that are thick-walled and meaty such as ‘Round of Hungary’, ‘Lipstick’, or ‘Carmen’. If you have a glut of produce on your hands, consider preparing this recipe in large batches and freezing some for a warm winter treat. It is wonderful served on its own, or you can garnish it with fresh herbs, sautéed corn or mushrooms, homemade croutons, or sour cream.
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
Yield: 6 servings
- 4 medium tomatoes or 3 cups cherry tomatoes
- 10 medium red bell peppers
- 1 or 2 jalapeño peppers
- 1 large head garlic
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Halve and core the tomatoes and peppers. (If you have cherry tomatoes, you can leave them whole and toss with olive oil). Cut the pointed tip off the head of garlic to reveal the bulbs. Rub the garlic with olive oil and toss the tomatoes and peppers with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place everything cut side down on a lined baking sheet. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes on the middle rack until the skins become dark and wrinkly. Remove and allow to cool.
Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the chopped onion, and salt in a saucepan and sauté on medium low until the onions are translucent—about five minutes. Add the roasted peppers, tomatoes, stock, paprika, and herbs. Cook until bubbly and aromatic, about 10 minutes.
Transfer to a high-powered blender and squeeze the roasted garlic from its skin into the mixture. Add the vinegar and blend on high (careful, the mixture will be hot!) until the mixture is smooth. Serve immediately or freeze in containers for later enjoyment.