Roasted Capsicum, Peanut and Tomato Soup

Here in Australia the weather is cooling; despite residual warm days, the blaze of summer is a but a memory. So naturally, in this endless cycle of seasons, soup is starting to appeal yet again.

Roasted Capsicum, Peanut and Tomato Soup, appearing in my second book ‘Cooking with Kurma’, has had some rave reviews over the years. For an authentic flavour, I do suggest you try to hunt down some chipotle chilies. Latin American stores, specialty delicatessen, and mail order spice merchants (like Herbies Spices here in Australia) stock them. By the way, chipotles are none other than smoked jalapenos.

the soup:

Kirsten from Australia writes:

“I have your book but I am living interstate. I am craving your Latin American tomato soup; you know the one with the peanut butter. I looked for it on your online recipes and it is not there. Could you please send it to me. I am going on a retreat and would love to cook it there. Thank you. Love and Light.”

My reply: Here’s the recipe. Happy cooking!

Roasted Capsicum, Peanut and Tomato Soup

This is a rich Latin American soup, with the smoky flavour of dried chipotle chilies, available at Mexican grocery suppliers. If chipotle chilies are unavailable, use Spanish smoked hot paprika powder along with fresh, red jalapeno chilies.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: about 1–1 1/4 hours,
YIELD: enough for 6–8 persons.

3 medium red capsicums (peppers), cored, de-ribbed and quartered, about 400g after trimming,
2 tablespoons olive oil,
1/2 teaspoon yellow asafetida powder,
2 dry chipotle chilies, seeds removed and cut into small pieces, or 1 fresh red jalapeno chili, seeded and sliced along with 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked hot paprika powder,
700g ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled and coarsely chopped, about 2 1/2 cups,
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves and fine stalks,
4 cups rich vegetable stock,
1 teaspoon salt,
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper,
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter, or more for a richer peanut flavour,
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves for garnish.

Pre-heat your griller. Place the capsicums, with their skins upwards under the griller and roast for 10–15 minutes or until their skins are blackened and blistered. Alternatively, if you don’t have a griller, hold them over a flame with kitchen tongs. Remove the capsicums and place them in a plastic bag to steam for 15 minutes.

Remove and rinse the capsicums under cold water, rubbing and peeling off the blackened skin. Chop the capsicums roughly and set them aside.

Warm the olive oil in a 3-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. Sprinkle in the yellow asafetida powder and sauté momentarily. Add the dry chili pieces or the fresh red chili slices. Stir briefly, then add the tomatoes, capsicums, coriander leaves and the smoked paprika, if using it. Raise the heat and, stirring occasionally, cook the tomatoes, peppers and coriander for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes break down.

Add the vegetable stock, salt and pepper, bring the soup to the boil and reduce the heat slightly. Cover with a lid and simmer for 25 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the peanut butter, mixing thoroughly.

Pour the soup into a food processor or blender (or puree with a bamix stick blender) and process until very smooth. Return the soup to the rinsed-out saucepan and reheat over gentle heat. The soup should be creamy in consistency. If too thick, add a little more vegetable stock or water; or if you prefer you may like to add a little extra peanut butter now.

Serve hot, with a garnish of fresh coriander leaves.

Posted by Kurma on 23/4/10; 11:25:43 AM

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