Roasted Red Pepper & Leeks Soup
I first made this quick and easy soup back in May 2008. While flipping through some old recipes a few days ago, I ran across this one again and it conjured up delicious taste memories. So, while out shopping on Friday I picked up a bunch of leeks and a few extra red bell peppers to recreate it on Sunday. This velvety, red-orange soup, together with green basil, is relatively mild with just a hint of spiciness. It is basically a twist on the classic tomato basil soup and is completely vegetarian. The flavor combination of the leeks, roasted peppers and basil is definitely a winner. It was a nice complement to this evening’s dinner of grilled salmon and mixed salad greens. After dinner, I diced up a couple of vegan chicken cutlets and added them to the leftover soup to make it a bit heartier for today’s lunch. Yum!
Roasted Red Pepper & Leeks Soup Recipe
Source: Adapted from Vegetarian Times, January 2002
Serves 6 | Vegan
Mise en place:
4 medium red bell peppers, seeded, membrane removed and cut in half lengthwise
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks (white parts only, 4 to 5 leeks)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 medium Yukon Gold potato (1/4 lb.), peeled and cut into small cubes
4 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar (use a good one)
1/2 teaspoon salt, more if desired
To roast peppers: Preheat to oven to 450°F. Arrange peppers on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Roast them until blistered and somewhat charred, about 15 to 20 minutes, keeping an eye on them so they burn up like my first batch did. Place them in a covered bowl or brown paper bag for about 20 minutes to loosen the skins. Once cool enough to handle, peel off the blackened skin with your fingers or a sharp paring knife and set aside.
In large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, pepper flakes and tomato paste, and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes. Add roasted peppers, potatoes and broth. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.
Transfer soup to blender* or food processor, and process until smooth. Return soup to pot, add another 1/4 teaspoon of salt, a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper and vinegar. Taste, and add more salt if desired. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt, if desired (vegans will use non-dairy versions, of course!).
*I used my submersion blender to blend the soup right in the pot. It saved time and I didn’t have to clean up my blender.