Roasted red pepper soup

Roasted red pepper soupThis richly-flavoured, lightly spicy soup is perfect for 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 a salad, or just a bit of grilled fish or chicken.

It’s dead easy to make cold red pepper soup. It gets a jolt of flavour from a touch of cumin and a hint of garlic. I use bottled red peppers. This avoids the tedious job of roasting and peeling them. I also use 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 to char them 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.
You may also use fresh tomatoes in place of canned. Simply wash, cut, and stew the amount you need. Season the tomatoes to taste with salt, and then puree them.
1box (quart or liter) of chicken or vegetable stock
1 cups /500 ml. tomato juice
2 jars / 335 ml. each of red peppers
1 peeled large carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic diced
1 tsp -1 tsp of ground cumin
1and 1/2 tsp sugar or 1 pkg. Splenda
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. I puree it very well in a blender. I use a Magic Bullet Platinum Pro, which I and our staff member Karin Pacione really like. Chill.
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.
Guests will love the tangy sweetness of the pepper contrasted with the smoky cumin. I like to add a bit of chili, too. The colour shouts sunshine. You can taste how healthful it is!