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. Curried Tomato-Bell Pepper Soup is the original name. It's a bit cumbersome, and also leaves out 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. If you want to soup to be smooth, you will need to blend it, but it tastes just as good chunky.

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.

PREP TIME:  10 minutes (use a food processor to chop the veggies)
COOK TIME: < 30 minutes

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 Tbs tomato paste
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
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream, half and half, or soy milk.
cilantro, parsley, or lemon slices for garnish

  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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