Red, Red, Red Soup: Roasted Red Pepper, Red Lentil and Tomato Soup

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Throughout the whole month of September, my grocery store has had a wonderful sale on red peppers.  Big, juicy red sweet peppers.  Most weeks, they were on sale for a $1.00 a piece.  This past week, they were on sale for 44 cents each.  Normally, they are $1.79 each or more in the winter months. 

When I see a sale like this, it makes me feel duty bound to buy lots and lots of peppers, and roast them up, and make lots of yummy things with them. 

So far, I’ve made pimento cheese and enjoyed that on crackers.  I’ve made a kidney-disease friendly “marinara” sauce that’s virtually salt-free and low potassium for my father-in-law, who’s struggling with a diabetic, low potassium diet at the age of 82.  Fun, fun.  I added some red peppers to a goat cheese and tabouli sandwich for lunch today, and that was yummy!  But, in an effort to stash some of the yumminess of these peppers in the freezer, here is a soup I found.  Some people used potatoes, added cream, used more or less peppers, kept it vegan…it’s all up to you. 

I’m seeking a tomato-like cream soup result, that will taste like summer in the winter. I added the lentils because I wanted to have a hearty soup, that wouldn’t have me looking for a snack two hours later.

  • 2 to 4 fresh red sweet peppers
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 28-ounce can low-sodium or no-salt added tomatoes, optiona
  • 1 14.5-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken stock, vegetable stock, or wate
  • A good handful of fresh basil leaves, about one cup of loosely packed leaves
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, optional

Roast the peppers on the grill till blackened. Alternatively, set the oven to 375 degrees and roast the peppers for about 30 minutes, turning after 20.  Twenty minutes on each side should do the trick.  When the peppers are done, place them in a storage container or plastic bag and seal.  As the cool, they will shrink, and the roasted and blistered skin will be easier to peel off.  It will usually flake off.  Do not wash them in water, as that will wash away the juicy liquid.  Any liquid that accumulates in the container can be added to whatever dish you are preparing; it is full of flavor.  I also roasted the onion with the peppers, but they can be sauteed in olive oil just as easily with the garlic.

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil while the peppers are cooling off.  Peel the skin off the peppers, removing the seeds also.  Add the peppers to the pot; they can be left whole, as they will be pureed.  Add the lentils and the stock or water of your choice, and well as the can of tomatoes, if using.  Add more water if needed to cover.  Let simmer about 30 to 45 minutes.  The red lentils will begin to disintegrate when they are done.   Puree with an immersion blender or in a regular blender.  Add heavy cream after pureeing, if desired.

Serve hot, topped with sour cream, yogurt, or goat cheese.

Note:  After having a few bowls of this, I found it to be too thick and too earthy.  After adding 1 cup of milk to a 2 cup portion, it was perfect.

 
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