Smoked Red Pepper and Tomato Cream Soup

  1. This recipe is great – my buddy Mike sent it to me, and I finally concocted it this afternoon. I halved this recipe and it was plenty of soup for four people.

  • 8 large red bell peppers cut in half and seeded
  • 2 lbs tomatoes, cored
  • 1large onion quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 5 sundried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes & halved
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 ancho chile pepper, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes & chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with enough water to make a paste
  • 1 cup corn kernels, lightly roasted
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne or your favorite spice

Smoke peppers, tomatoes, corn, onion and garlic for 30 minutes. If you don’t have a smoker you can put the peppers and tomatoes under the broiler & char the skin. Then put in ice water for a few minutes and remove charred skin then chop.

If you have the smoker, make sure you peel the tomatoes and peppers before chopping.

Chop onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes in a large soup pot. Stir in red peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste, sundried tomatoes, ancho pepper and chicken/vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. While this is going on, slice corn kernels from the cob (one cob makes about 1/2 cup of corn).

Add heavy cream, cilantro salt and pepper, and cornstarch (or flour) and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and run through blender in small batches to puree (don’t fill blender more than halfway; use a towel over blender; hot soup!) I’m serious about covering the blender – I didn’t use a towel on the first batch and it spewed all over the wall!

Serve with with bit of sour cream and some chopped cilantro and corn on top. I like Mexican cornbread with this dish (or with any tortilla soup or pinto beans recipe). I think a nice ripe avocado would also go nicely with this (that was my intention today, but I forgot).

This makes 4 quarts.

One note about the ancho chiles – I find rehydrating ancho chiles a drag sometimes and they are so good, so what I do is make a big batch of ancho chile paste and keep it. I get about 8 ancho chiles, and char them briefly in an iron skillet before soaking. I roast 6 cloves of garlic, add some cumin and maybe 1/4 cup of chicken or vegetable broth to this in a mixer to make a nice smooth paste. The ancho chiles are not hot – they smell and taste more like raisins than chipotle japapenos, but they add a nice flavor to any mexican dish. I store a jar of this in the refrigerator so I can grab a couple of tablespoons on demand.

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