We’re past Christmas, and the days leading up to jolly St. Nick’s arrival have come and gone. Now we’re just about to jump into a new year. It’s a beautiful thing. The holidays are closing shop, but we can still say ’tis the season–the season for soup. The season for soup actually started once fall hit, but now we’re well into winter. There’s no better time than now. Depending on where you are, it’s most likely quite chilly. Maybe you have snow or freezing rain. Here in LA, we do get our share of ‘winter’. It’s a strange type of winter for anyone who hails from the East coast, but it is possible for this ‘cold’ to set in your bones. Rather than hiding under your Snuggie, there are ways to warm your spirit. Soup does that. Make one big vat of soup, and you’ll never pick up the canned version again.
This soup hits several spots–savory, creamy, spicy, slightly sweet–so it’s very satisfying. Plus, it’s full of butter and cream, so it’s comforting. If you’re not a fan of the extra calories, leave out the butter and substitute low fat milk, cooked white rice or cooked potatoes for the cream. The starch in the rice or potatoes will thicken the liquid and add creaminess and depth without adding flavor. It’s up to you. The final product will be worthy of repeat. Feel free to serve with a slice of baguette…or cream biscuits. The biscuits won.
Enjoy your New Year celebrations!
Cream of Red Pepper and Tomato Soup – Serves 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 large brown onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
3 vine tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
2 large roasted peppers*
1 cup heavy cream
8 large leaves fresh basil, chopped
8 large leaves fresh sage, chopped
3/4 teaspoon Tabasco
2/3 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Add olive oil and butter to a deep pot over medium heat. Once hot, swirl to combine, then add the garlic, celery, carrots and onion. Toss to coat and cook until the veggies have softened a bit, approximately 7-9 minutes.
2. Pour in the broth, roasted peppers and tomatoes. Stir well and bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer 10-15 minutes.
3. Stir in the cream, basil and sage and remove the pot from heat.
4. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup down to desired consistency. (You can also use a standing blender to do the same.) Add the Tabasco and salt and stir well.
*You can use the jarred variety as well. Just be sure they are large enough to equal two fresh peppers. This recipes uses freshly roasted peppers.
Cream Drop Biscuits – Makes 10-12 biscuits
2 1/4 cups flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
1. Whisk the flour, baking soda, sugar and salt in a medium sized bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or fork until small crumbles begin to form.
2. Add the cream and milk, stirring until just combined.
3. Scoop out dough with a 1/3 cup measuring cup and drop onto a cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 11-13 minutes.
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