For our first foray into televised cooking demos (airing Wednesday on Connecticut Style), we here at TBYK wanted to start with a simple, flavorful soup that can be served either warm or chilled. When the segment airs we’ll post a video here–in the meantime, I’ll take you through making this nifty little soup:
Chilled Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Tomatoes and Orange
- 3-4 peppers (2-3 red, 1-2 yellow), seeded and quartered
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- Olive oil
- 1 14 oz of canned chopped tomatoes (we use Petite Cut by Del Monte)
- Juice of one orange and zest from its rind
- 1 1/2 cups cold water or red wine (note: red wine is going to make it much more flavorful)
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Set your oven to broil. Place the pepper quarters on a cookie sheet and slide it under the broiler, about 4-5″ from the flame/coils. Remove when the skins have completely charred (the amount of time will depend heavily on your oven. It’ll take 5-10 minutes, but if it’s your first time, do NOT walk away). Remove from the oven and place the peppers into a bowl and cover with a plate or plastic wrap, allowing them to cool enough to then remove the blackened skins.
Roughly chop the skinned peppers. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt to a pot over medium heat and sweat for 5 minutes, until they become translucent. Keep the heat low enough that the garlic does not brown. Next add the peppers and the can of tomatoes and bring to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, add the orange juice and zest.
Carefully insert your stick blender and blend until homogenous. Alternatively, wait until the soup cools and add it to the bowl of a food processor and blend there. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve soup at room temperature or chilled (refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but remember that like stew, soup tastes better after having sat).
When ready to serve, garnish with parsley and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, sour cream, a little mascarpone cheese or some Parmigiano-Reggiano as shown here. This can be served a variety of ways: with sandwiches, with ciabatta toasts covered in goat cheese and herbs, or as an appetizer as part of a larger meal.
Remember that experimentation is the mother of deliciousness. A basic soup like this is begging for variation. Try using different stocks instead of water or subsituitue some water for wine. Try added roasted garlic at the end of cooking instead of raw in the beginning. With a little common sense, a generic recipe can become your signature dish!