Despite the heat wave this week, Michigan fall is finally here! And hey, that’s Michigan weather for you…cold one week, hot the next. But I LOVE fall. Give me all the pumpkin, bright-colored leaves, comfort foods, cozy sweaters, spiced rum and apple cider, and Michigan State football…I die happy. Luckily, my fiance also loves fall and any delicious stew or soup that is served in a bowl 🙂
On a different note, lately I have been feeling more primal urges in my cooking. You know, getting back to a more simple way of living and preparing food. Sometimes after a long day at work where I am constantly dialed into a computer, pager, or phone, it’s nice to come home and slow life down a little.
My latest obsession has been charring. Tortillas, bell peppers, naan bread, you name it. It adds an amazing depth of flavor and small little smoky bits of goodness.
However, one blessing of advanced technology is the immersion blender. It’s a sneaky little amazing hand-held machine that blends and purees foods lickity split. One of the best gifts I ever received and I highly recommend it to my all my fellow creamy soup lovers.
This creamy tomato soup gives all the fall feels. It pairs beautifully with a homemade whole grain bread, French baguette, or grilled cheese sandwich for dipping. Bonus: it’s packed with antioxidants. Lycopene, vitamin C, and beta-carotene will help ensure no fall colds occur in your household. So get in the kitchen and happy fall cooking!
Charred Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
2 large garlic cloves, cut in half
4 red bell peppers
2 large Roma tomatoes
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tsp red wine vinegar
Red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and remove the stem to create a canal down the middle of the tomato.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Stuff each tomato half with a halved piece of garlic and place the tomatoes on the baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Gas stove: Turn your burner to low to medium heat and place the bell peppers on the burner. Char on each side of the pepper (about 3 minutes per side). Once fully charred, place the peppers on a large plate, cover with aluminum foil and allow the steam to soften the peppers for about 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
- No gas stove? Use the oven. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place the whole peppers on a baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping the peppers twice. Once the peppers are charred and wrinkled remove from the oven and cover with aluminum foil for 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
- Once peppers are cool enough to handle, wet a paper towel and scrap off the charred peel. I like to keep some on for flavor. Remove and discard the stem and seeds.
- Depending on the tools you have available at home, you can either use a food processor or immersion blender for this part (I used an immersion blender). Place the tomatoes, bell peppers, vinegar, and broth in a large pot. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth.
- Add the milk (or cream) and bring the soup to a low simmer. Add the onion powder, salt and pepper to taste, fresh basil, and red pepper flakes (if desired). Serve and garnish with fresh basil or shredded mozzarella cheese.