Friday, January 16, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

I made this soup tonight and was really thrilled with how it turned out. We have been eating wheat-free french bread all week and I was able to use that when I made my goat cheese toasts. But if you can use whatever bread works best for you, wheat-free or otherwise. I also added the asparagus as an additional layer; it adds a nice contrasting texture to the smooth soup.
3 red peppers
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon roasted red chili paste
1 garlic clove
3 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 heavy cream
1 cup fresh asparagus, steamed and diced

Goat Cheese Toasts (recipe following)

Broil the red peppers, turning them so they blacken on all sides. Once they’re black, put them in a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and leave them until they’re cool enough to handle (about 30 minutes). Peel, seed, and roughly chop them.

Warm the olive oil in a thick-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the peppers, chili paste, and a pinch of salt, stir to combine, and cook for 5 minutes.

Finely chop the garlic, add to the pot, and cook for 2 minutes.

Drain the tomatoes, and add to the pot with the thyme, red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt. Cook for 10 minutes.

Add the chicken stock. Puree with a stick blender until smooth, and simmer for 15 more minutes. Check seasonings and add more salt to taste. Add the cream and heat one more minute on low heat.

Divide asparagus into 4 dishes. Pour soup on top. Finish with a goat cheese toast and serve warm.

Goat Cheese Toasts
4 slices of crusty french bread
olive oil
herbed goat cheese
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place bread on a cookie sheet and drizzle the tops with olive oil. Toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove. Top bread with goat cheese (as much or as little as you like) and sprinkle with thyme. Drizzle a little more olive oil over the cheese. Bake for approx. 7 minutes. If you like the top to be a bit brown, broil on high for an additional minute.

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