**Note: I made this at home after Mirna taught me, but made some adjustments according to what I had in the cabinet, and it turned out to be a delicious second way to make it! I added about a cup of cashews before blending, and used 2 bay leaves and marjoram instead of thyme, used a can of cubed tomatoes instead of the Pomi sauce, only had three small red peppers, and also left out the broth, though the tomatoes had enough liquid. I tend to go for thicker soups, and really enjoyed this!**
Soup Night: the best night of the week
4-6 large red peppers
1 large sweet onion
3 cloves garlic
about 1 1/2 - 2 cups tomato puree (Jon suggests Pomi brand strained tomatoes, available at Whole Foods
- you can also use tomato paste, though you will need to add some liquid. Other tomato alternatives would probably work, too, but make sure the seeds aren't left in or it will not blend as nicely
Vegetable broth, about 2 cups
-more or less if you want to thin or thicken the soup
3-4 tbsp canola oil
1 bay leaf
some fresh thyme
salt and black pepper
cheese - try grated Parmesan or something else and tell me about it
chopped (fresh) basil and parsley
kalamata olives (ooo, I bet tapenade would be good)
**Note: Fresh herbs (instead of dried), and those beautiful vegetables you get from fancy grocery stores, make ALL the difference
1 boiled potato
~To give the soup a more creamy texture add the potato after cooking, before pureeing the soup. Cubing it before boiling is much faster.
Roasting the peppers:
I am SO excited to finally know how to roast red peppers. I feel the world loves me.
Turn the oven to 450 degrees and rub the peppers down with vegetable oil. Sexy. Not olive oil, because the smoking temperature of olive oil is lower (about 420 for virgin olive oil and 375 for extra virgin) so it will start to break down at higher temperatures, keeping you from being able to use the high temp necessary to blacken the peppers as you roast. Just use canola oil and stop asking questions. (I'm going to try vegetable oil, too, and see how it goes)
Put the peppers on a tray and into the oven for around 30-40 minutes, turning the peppers every few minutes so that they cook evenly. When they are blackened in spots and tender, they're done. Mirna say stovetop works, too with a deep pan, but I haven't tried.
Mirna's awesome trick: take them out of the oven and into a bowl, immediately covering them with seran wrap and let them sit for about 20-30 minutes. The peppers steam themselves, making it really easy to peel off the skins.
Which you need to do.
Okay, so finally:
Chop the onion and garlic. Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a heavy bottomed pot and add the onion first. Mirna says the garlic can burn, so put it in after you sweat the onions (they turn clear).
Then, add the stewed tomato/tomatoe paste/pureed potatoes, your roasted red peppers, chopped, and the bay leaf. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. If you're using the paste you may need to add more liquid before pureeing.
Pour in the vegetable broth and the rest of the seasonings (salt, pepper, thyme), and simmer for another 10 minutes. or dont. whatever. It just makes it taste better if you let the flavors "hang out together."
If you're using a boiled potato for creaminess, add it now.
Blend the soup (definitely take out the bay leaf first) using whatever you have; bullet, blender, immersion blender... until smooth.
Top with chopped basil, parsley, cheese, and or kalamata olives as desired
Great with toasted brown bread!