Monday, September 30, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Soup - Perfect for Crisp Fall Days!

About 2 AM last night I woke up while I was writing a soup recipe. Darn it. I can't remember it. Most people think about the opportunity to wear warm fuzzy sweaters and knee high boots when the weather starts to turn crisp. Not me. I'm dreaming up recipes for new soups and stews to warm us up for lunch and dinner.

Because we share a pretty "veg-centric" cuisine at Taste and Savor, (we do at home, too!), I consider comfort food a special challenge. It's always easy to start with a chicken and then toss some veggies into the stockpot. Instant soul-warming, familiar soup. But take away the "chicken-ey" taste on. A whole new way of having to cook and think about our food.

When the seasons turn, the produce does too. Fall means the start of hard-skinned squash, pumpkins and lots of sweet potatoes. The opportunity to take roasted red peppers and aromatic veggies like onions, carrots and garlic and gently soften them before adding in veg stock and sweet potato like we have here. To use seasonal bounty in new ways like the sweet potato croutons in this soup.

Here's a soup we shared with good friends at the Angels on Earth meeting the other night. Served in small cups, it makes the perfect little appetizer. Our intrepid kitchen crew enjoyed the leftovers in big mugs with a slice of toasted Pumpkin Cornbread. In my opinion, it doesn't get better...

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

2 Large Sweet Potatoes
3 TB Olive Oil plus 1 Tsp
2 Large Red Onions, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped
1 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Tsp Turmeric
3 TB Tomato Paste
4 Garlic Cloves Chopped
1 TB Italian Seasoning
6 Cups Vegetable Broth
8 Roasted Red Peppers, chopped
1/2 Cup Red Wine (like Pinot Noir)
1 TB Honey
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
Nonfat Greek Yogurt

Step One
Scrub the sweet potatoes. Leave one whole. Peel and chop the other into small croutons. Set aside the chopped sweet potato. Puncture the whole sweet potato with a fork. Place into a 400F oven and cook until soft about 30 minutes.

Step Two
In a large stockpot, sauté the onions, carrots, pepper and turmeric together int the olive oil until very soft. Add the tomato paste, garlic and seasoning and cook and stir until fragrant, about a minute. Add in the veg broth, roasted red peppers, wine and honey. Sprinkle with sea salt. Simmer for twenty minutes.

Step Three
While the soup is simmering, sauté the sweet potato in a skillet on the stove top in the 1 Tsp of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Sauté the croutons until soft and slightly browned around the edges.

Step Four
Remove the cooked sweet potato from the oven and scoop out the flesh into your stockpot of soup. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Allow the soup to cool slightly and then carefully puree the hot soup, using an immersion blender.

Step Five
Serve the soup in cups or bowls, garnish with a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt and the sweet potato croutons.

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