Thursday, December 30, 2010

Curried Tomato Bell Pepper Soup

This spicy, colorful soup is a personal favorite and one I often serve to guests. This recipe has evolved over time, but was inspired by a member's recipe in the old Cooking Pleasures magazine. It was originally called Curried Tomato-Bell Pepper Soup, a name that seems too cumbersome for this silky soup. Also, that moniker left out half the other good ingredients, like ginger, and garlic and pumpkin. Yes, this soup is thickened with pumpkin, which contributes a great deal to the texture and color.

This makes a big batch of soup - 11-12 cups - so note the stopping point in step #2 that allows you to save all or part of it for later.

INGREDIENTS
2 Tbs Olive oil
3 cups chopped onion (try different kinds, I used yellow and red)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. curry powder (or make your own)
1 Tbs fresh ginger, chopped
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 29 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained, or 3 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 15 oz can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup Marsala wine or dry white wine
1 1/2 cups diced bell pepper - red, green, yellow or orange
3/4-1 cup of yellow squash, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream, half and half, or soy milk.
cilantro, parsley, or lemon slices for garnish

 PROCEDURE
  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat until hot. Add onions; cook 5-7 minutes until tender.Add garlic, curry power, ginger, and crushed red pepper; cook 2 minutes.
  2. Add broth,  tomatoes, pumpkin, tomato paste, bell pepper,wine and salt. Increase heat to high. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 20 minutes stirring occasionally. (Soup can be made up to 1 month ahead and frozen. Thaw in refrigerator. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat; continue with remainder of recipe.)
  3.  Add cream; cook 5 minutes. (If using half-and-half do not bring to a boil.) Garnish with a dollop of cream and cilantro or parsley for your cilantro-resistant friends.

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