In spite of a recent and brief burst of warm weather at the end of September, Summer is over in the Puget Sound region. I'm already roasted squash and making soup. Here's a soup that is easy and delicious. And I was able to put it together from things I had on hand, my favorite way to cook.
The late Summer has provided us with tomatoes and peppers later in the season. This works to my advantage. I love to have roasted peppers on hand. I roast a huge batch, either in the oven or on the grill, then freeze what I can't use within the week.
I spied roasted peppers in the refrigerator and knew I had just one more jar of homemade canned tomatoes in the basement. I made soup, of course.
Here's what I used, more or less:
4 large roasted bell peppers (red and yellow), seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 handfuls fresh basil leaves
2 cups chopped tomatoes, seeds removed (or canned equivalent without the juice)
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
coarse salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
heavy pinch allspice
In your favorite soup pot over medium heat, saute the garlic and onion gently. If it eventually browns a bit, no problem. But let it happen naturally. Meanwhile, seed and chop the tomatoes and the roasted peppers, open the cans of tomatoes if that's what you're using, pour a glass of wine, check your email. A little patience goes a long way.
Once the onions have softened a bit, about 10 minutes, add the peppers and tomatoes and simmer until most of the liquid evaporates. I think this helps concentrate the flavors. We'll thin it out later. Now is a good time to add salt and pepper and allspice. Give it a taste and re-season if you like.
Because the soup is basically cooked at this point, turn off the heat. Let the soup cool for a while before blending. It's safer this way. Next, blend the mixture in batches in the blender or food processor and keep it in a large bowl until it's all blended.
I like to strain this soup because of the seeds involved in both tomatoes and peppers. Yes, you've already removed the seeds but some always sneak through. I strain through a fine sieve, tapping it until I'm left with just seeds. Rinse the sieve and repeat until the whole batch is strained. Yes, it's extra work but it makes for a velvety soup.
Return the strained mixture to the pot and on low heat re-heat and thin to the desired consistency. I left my soup thick. It's a matter of preference and, frankly, my preference changes. If you want the soup thinner, you can use vegetable or chicken broth, water, milk, or creme.
Serve this with warm bread and you will be very happy.