I went out to dinner with Ryan last night to a nice little Italian place called Patsy’s. Since both of us are trying to lose weight, and knowing we were going out, we abstained from eating for the entire day until he got out of work – around 8:30 pm. So naturally by that point we were ready to start eating unnecessary body parts. We ate an incredible amount of food: fresh bread, bruschetta with tomatoes, lemon juice and basil, mozzarella sticks – those were the appetizers – and for the entrée I got tortellini carbonara with prosciutto and onions, and Ryan got ravioli with meatballs. There was, unfortunately, no room for dessert. Believe me, though, we tried to find some.
Anyhow, so I woke up today still feeling uncomfortably full, not to mention rather guilty for so egregiously disregarding my diet, and decided to make something light to eat in the middle of the day. After taking a short one-person poll, I elected to make roasted tomato & pepper soup. I scanned a few recipes and none looked good, so what follows is more of less an amalgam of a bunch of recipes I read over and discarded. I was feeling incredibly lazy today so I used mostly canned ingredients, except for the hot peppers (the grocery store didn’t have any of my favorite chipotle peppers in adobo sauce). I’m sure this soup would be even better with fresh red peppers and tomatoes.
Roasted Tomato & Pepper Soup
2 28-oz cans whole, peeled tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
2 15-oz cans roasted red peppers
6 oz. chile peppers (optional, but I like heat)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 medium sweet onions
4 cups milk
½ can evaporated milk, about ¾ cup
¼ cup flour
1 tablespoon vegetable soup base
Ground pepper, salt to taste
Preheat the oven to around 450 degrees. Slice the onions, de-seed the chile peppers and drain the tomatoes and canned peppers, but reserve the liquid – it’s all going in the soup. Line three baking sheets with aluminum foil and rub each with a teaspoon of the olive oil, and put the tomatoes, onions and peppers in their own trays. Sprinkle each with a teaspoon or two of garlic, and a little salt and pepper. Put them in the oven to roast for about 20–30 minutes at the preheated temperature, and then turn on the broiler until everything is black on top, probably another ten minutes. Make sure you check frequently while the broiler is on; things in my oven can go from pleasantly charred one second to totally inedible before I can turn around, so watch out. Take the trays out and let them cool.
Put the tomatoes, peppers and onions in a thick soup pot. Don’t scrape off any of the charred bits – they add a lot of flavor to the soup, even if they aren’t pretty. Add the reserved liquid from the cans and stir in the tomato paste. Using a hand blender or a conventional one, puree everything until very smooth. Set aside.
In a sauce pan, add the other tablespoon of olive oil and heat it on medium for a couple minutes until it’s bubbling, then add the flour and make a roux. Then add the milk and vegetable soup base and simmer for about ten minutes, whisking constantly so everything incorporates. When it has thickened nicely, take it off the stove and add it to the pureed tomatoes and peppers. Blend it again until has an even consistency, then put it back on the stove. Simmer for 15 or 20 minutes until it’s nice and hot, adding the evaporated milk toward the end for a creamier texture.
I served this with grilled cheese sandwiches and it was exactly what I was in the mood for. For the nutritionally minded, this recipe makes around 10 two-cup servings, and according to my diet software, it has 180 calories, about 5g fat, 28g carbs, 4g fiber and 9g protein per serving. (I used 2% milk and fat-free evaporated milk in the soup.)
[This sentence is a place-holder. My camera's batteries were dead so I couldn't take a picture, but one will go here the next time I re-heat some of the soup.]