Thursday, January 6, 2011

Soup Days

Some call this stretch of days winter. I could just as easily call them Soup Days. Something about being tucked between sheets of snow and rain-soaked clouds makes me want to have a pot of something warm bubbling on the stove, simmering away urging us to relax and find the comfort in settling into the rhythms and days at home. Of course, full days at home require free hands to keep those little hands busy and happy during the day. So, I like my soups to cook themselves. Well, as much as they can. Recently, we tried a new one based on a recipe for Roasted Tomato and Paprika Soup from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Cooking. Her version involves roasting all of the vegetables, which I'm wanting to try this summer when we can get our hands on some fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes. For now, we improvised (and played around with amounts of certain ingredients to better suit the tastes of some of our picker eaters). Here's our version:

42.5 oz. (otherwise known as one large plus one small can) fire-roasted canned tomatoes
1 large red bell pepper
2 large onions
4 garlic cloves
3 c. chicken stock
1/4 tsp. paprika
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Seed and quarter the red pepper, skin and quarter the onions. Rub a rimmed cookie sheet with olive oil. Coat the quartered veggies in olive oil. Place them on the baking sheet (peppers skin down) with the garlic cloves (skins still on). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake about 45 minutes until the onions get brown on top (you may want to turn the onions at some point, but I got busy chasing children and skipped this step). Chase children, count snowflakes, take the dog out, notice the house is starting to smell good.

About thirty minutes into the veggies baking, pull out a stockpot and dump in the tomatoes and stock. (Depending on how thick you want your soup, you may not want to put all 3 cups of stock in at once, I kind of wish I would have made ours a little thicker, but on day 2 it was perfect as is). Bring to a simmer.

Take roasted veggies out of oven. Peel the garlic, put all veggies in a food processor and puree. Add puree to soup. Add paprika. (You could puree the entire soup at this point to give it a creamier texture, but we were going for a more rustic feel). Serve with bread, because what's the fun of using a spoon?

If you like your tomato soup creamy, this probably isn't your soup. But if you want to try a little something different with some great smoky undertones to it, give this one a try.

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