Chilled Red Pepper and Tomato Soup


I got this great recipe from the book Keep it Seasonal by Annie Wayte.  I remember eating cold soup once or twice and though the idea was a little foreign to me, there is no denying that they did taste yummy.  This is a good soup to have when it is hot out there.

Chilled Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

You will need:
-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
-4 cloves garlic, crushed
-1 hot red chile pepper, such as Thai or red jalepeño, halved
-1/2 bunch cilantro
-1 large onion, coarsely chopped
-1/2 bulb fennel, coarsely chopped
-3 red bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
-2 and 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
-2 teaspoons sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Place four soup bowls in the refrigerator to chill.
Combine the olive oil, garlic, chile pepper, and cilantro in an ovenproof pot and sauté over medium heat until the garlic is golden brown, approximately 5 minutes.  Add the onions and fennel and sauté for 10 minutes.  Then add the bell peppers, tomatoes, and salt.  Stir well and transfer the pot to the oven.  Bake, uncovered, stirring every 10 minutes or so, for 30 minutes, or until the contents have collapsed into their own liquid and appear scorched on top.
Remove the soup from the oven and allow it to cool for 20 minutes.
Ladle the soup, in batches, into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.  Then pass the puree through a sieve into a bowl, using a spoon to push as much through as possible.  Discard the solids and refrigerate the soup for at least 3 hours.

Serves 4

This recipe calls for hot peppers but if you are like me and do not favor spicy things, you can leave the jalepeños out.  Remember that if you really want the soup to stay chilled, you can throw a few ice cubes into the bowls.  You may also garnish the soup with some slices of cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, basil, mint and cilantro leaves.  Don’t forget to add a touch of freshly ground pepper to taste, as well!

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