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This richly-flavoured, lightly spicy soup is perfect for late summer or early fall. It’s also versatile. It makes an elegant starter, when topped with a dollop of crème fraiche, and served in beautiful china cups or fancy soup plates. Or, it is a perfect light lunch or supper with grilled fish or chicken.
It gets a jolt of flavour from a touch of cumin and a hint of garlic. I often use bottled red peppers. This avoids the tedious job of roasting and peeling them. I also use organic chicken stock, but vegetarians can substitute vegetable stock of good quality. Make sure you do not buy vinegared or pickled peppers.
If you have fresh red peppers, roast them under a hot broiler until the skin chars black. Turn them so they will roast evenly. You can do this on the grill. Drop the charred peppers in a paper bag and close it, or place them in bowl and seal it with plastic wrap. Steam the peppers in the containers for five to six minutes. Then rub the charred skin off with an old, clean dish towel.
1box (quart or liter) of organic chicken or vegetable stock
1 cups /500 ml. tomato juice
2 jars / 335 ml. each of roasted red peppers or 12 -14 large roasted and seeded red bell peppers. You may use long sweet red pepper also but sure the peppers are sweet
1 peeled large carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic diced
1 tsp -1 tsp of ground cumin
1 ½ tsp of sugar (preferably brown organic)
1 and 1/2 tsp chili flakes, optional
Crème fraiche or sour cream (optional)
Sauté the chopped vegetables. Do not brown. Drain the peppers and blot dry. Chop.
Add cumin to the vegetables and chili, if you wish. Stir. Add peppers and sugar.
Add the three cups of stock and simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Purée until smooth, and thin with a bit more stock, if necessary. If you wish it to be very elegant, pass the soup through a fine sieve. I do not often bother to do this, as I like the texture.
Taste to correct the seasoning before serving. It may taste blander when cold, and you may wish to add a bit of hot sauce, a dash of cayenne, and a bit more salt. Serve garnished with a dollop of crème fraiche or lemon slices.