Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Winter has finally arrived! Evenings are chilly, skies are more cloudy and my good old thick comforter is out of its summer package... that means bringing back two of my favorite winter activities: scarf knitting and making big pots of hot bubbling soup!

I am a soup lover; on many wintry days I am perfectly happy with a dinner of hot soup and a nice rusty bread. This one is one of my favorites. It has a lot of healthy vegetables, red peppers are full of anti-oxidants and vitamin A/C and roasting brings out a really nice slightly sweet flavor to them.

I first saw this recipe a year ago on one of the recipe shows on TV (unfortunately don't remember which show now). Original recipe called for some cream and a dollop of cream cheese. I am not a cream lover so I made it first with no cream but instead added lemon juice and it still tasted great! Over the last year I have made this soup more times than I can count and everytime I switched a few things here and there. This one is extremely forgiving; you can skip an ingredient if you don't have it or replace it with something similar.. its all good!
Recipe:2 red peppers
2 tomatoes
1 jalapeno pepper
4 cloves of garlic - unpeeled
1/2 onion
Olive oil/salt/pepper
one herb -- thyme is my favorite here, or basil works great too!
lemon juice

Preheat oven to 420F. Place the vegetables on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper. Roast for 30-40 mins (or until well roasted -- you will know by blackened patches of skin on red pepper and onion would be browned a bit). In between once after 20 mins of roasting flip the vegetables over for uniform roasting. Remove from oven and let cool.

Next remove the skin of the red pepper and tomatoes (it should easily come off after roasting). De-seed the red pepper and tomatoes. Place all the roasted vegetables in a blender alongwith water enough to make desired soup consistency. Puree the soup.

The soup may have a slightly raw taste even after roasting. To get rid of the rawness I transfer the blended soup to a pot; add the herb (thyme or basil); adjust seasonings of salt & pepper and let it simmer for 10mins on medium heat. Take the soup off heat; add lemon juice and serve with a nice toasted slice of french bread spread with some butter and garlic spread for an extra kick!

Note: Many people prefer to add some cream to their roasted red pepper soup. I like it even without; but if you prefer the creamy consistency you can add some heavy cream at the last stage of the cooking.

Happy thanksgiving to all!