Monday, February 11, 2008

Meatless Main Dish Monday: Southwest Tomato & Roasted Pepper Soup

It was 18 degrees this morning and I got on the wrong bus (duh) which extended my commute by about an hour. All in all, it wasn't an auspicious start.

It's a perfect day for soup. It's cold, first of all, and it's Monday. My husband, who's a teacher, has tomorrow off for election day, so I'm expecting a piping hot dinner when I walk in the door tomorrow night. He does that. So tonight it's soup and cheesy garlic bread and a caesar salad.

I love this. It was in Fine Cooking this month, and it's perfect for a cold night when you don't want a big heavy meal with a big pile of leftovers. A day like this calls for something spicy, to get those food endorphins going. How great is it that the same rush that runners get you can get from eating a plate full of nachos? Okay, it's not exactly the same, but still.

A note about pureeing: beware. Hot soup can build steam up in a blender, which will blow the lid right off and shower you and your entire kitchen in hot soup. Take the center widget out of the blender lid and cover it with a dish towel. Also, for God sake, puree in small batches. Safety first.

This serves four as a main dish.

Southwest Tomato & Roasted Pepper Soup

1 large red bell pepper
3 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (use vegetable broth to go totally meatless)
28 oz. can whole peeled plum tomatoes, draned and coarsely chopped (reserve the juice)
1 cup small diced zucchini
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp. finely grated lime zest
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

Coat the red pepper with 1/2 tsp of the oil. Roast directly on the grate of a gas burner over high heat or undera broiler, turning occasionally until charred all over. Put the pepper in a bowl while still hot and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rest until cool enough to handle. Stem, seed and peel the pepper, using a table knife to scrape away the charred skin. Coarsely chop and set aside.

In a nonreactive Dutch oven, heat the remaining oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until just soft, 8-10 minutes. Stir the chili powder, cumin, and coriander into the onions. Add the roasted pepper and cook for another minute. Add the broth and tomatoes and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 40 minutes.

Let cool briefly, then puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. Rinse the pot and return the soup to the pot. If it is too thick, add some of the reserved tomato juice. Add the zucchini and cook for another 10 minutes over low heat.

Meanwhile, combine the sour cream, lime juice, and zest in a small bowl. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with the lime sour cream and the cilantro leaves.

1 comment:

merseydotes said...

Do you have a stick (immersion) blender? Making pureed soups is so easy and you don't have to dirty a separate container. You just puree right in the pot.