The high temperature in Omaha yesterday was 91 degrees. 91! It's September, for goodness sake! Where are those cool, crisp fall days I ordered? I guess it's not technically fall for a couple more weeks yet so maybe I can't officially complain until then. This in-between-seasons time can be difficult. What do I wear? Is it too early to get out my fall decorations? What about setting pumpkins on the porch?
And most importantly, what do I eat? Fortunately THAT is one question I can answer. The farm stand near my house is still brimming with ripe beefsteak tomatoes. Roasted with red bell peppers and aromatics, they make a fantastic end-of-summer soup. Pair a bowl of this with a grilled cheese sandwich and you've got yourself an easy weeknight meal.
This simple recipe was inspired by a roasted vegetable soup that I've been making for years and originally found in Martha Stewart's now defunct Everyday Food magazine (the best food publication EVER in my opinion...don't get me started). I've switched it up a bit by swapping red onion for leeks and red peppers for carrots, but the basic idea is the same: place six beefsteak tomatoes that have been cored and cut in half in a roasting pan with the rest of the vegetables. Toss with olive oil. Roast for an hour. Remove tomato skins with tongs (they slip off quite easily at this point). Purée in a blender. Add broth. Done. Easy, nutritious and delicious! Oh, and it's just as good if you make it a few days ahead of time so go ahead and prepare the soup on Sunday afternoon and serve it on a busy Tuesday evening when cooking from scratch seems out of the question. It even freezes well for long term storage.
When my kids were small and wanted nothing to do with vegetables, puréed soups like this one were one the few ways that I would be able to sneak them in. No one had any idea that this creamy, delicious soup was chock full of healthy goodness! It also happens to be vegan (if you make it with vegetable broth), gluten-free and dairy-free.
For the record, I did set out my fall decorations last week and a few small pumpkins indoors. The cozy sweaters, however, will remain in storage until this heatwave passes. Whatever the weather is like where you are, give this soup a try! It's just the thing for this in between time.
Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup
- 6 ripe beefsteak tomatoes cut in half and core removed
- 2 red bell peppers cut into ¾ inch pieces
- 1 small red onion sliced thin
- 4 cloves of garlic smashed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1-2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1-2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
- Chopped fresh basil
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place tomato halves cut size down in a roasting pan. Add peppers, onions and garlic. Toss vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper Transfer pan to oven and roast for an hour.
- Remove pan from the oven and allow the vegetables to cool slightly. Using tongs, slip the skins off of the tomatoes. Transfer half the vegetables and any accumulated juices to a blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan. Repeat with remaining vegetables.
- Add enough broth to give the soup a nice, creamy consistency. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. If you think the soup needs a little more zing, add the second teaspoon of vinegar. Serve topped with basil and a drizzle of olive oil.