Monday, April 4, 2011

Red Pepper Soup with Olives, Lemon Zest, and Yogurt

Great comfort food. Gorgeous colors.

4 red bell peppers or 5 red gypsy peppers, roasted and skinned, please see instructions if you need them
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded (catching the liquid), and chopped, see instructions if you need them
Note: I seed the tomatoes over a sieve placed over a bowl. The seeds drop into the sieve and the liquid falls into the bowl. Periodically I swish the seeds around to release more tomato liquid.
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
½ cup thick yogurt
Note: If all you can find is soupy yogurt, line a sieve with two layers or paper towels, place the sieve over a bowl, and pour the yogurt into the sieve. Let it drain until the consistency is as thick as you like it. See photo and instructions.
½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or smoked or regular paprika
1/3 cup pitted black olives, slivered in quarters
Finely grated zest of one lemon, see photos if you need them
1 tablespoon rosemary [the original recipe calls for this], very finely chopped, but I prefer finely chopped thyme.
A drizzle of olive oil

1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and sauté the garlic and onion for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until the mixture begins to bubble. Tear up the roasted peppers as you add them to the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add 3 cups water, or a combination of the tomato liquid (from seeding the tomatoes), the liquid released by the broiled peppers and enough water to make 3 cups. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and purée in a food processor. Return the soup to the soup pot and add the Aleppo pepper. The soup should be fairly thick: if it seems too thin, simmer uncovered for a while longer; if it is too thick, add more liquid. You can let it sit at this point until you’re ready to serve it.
4. Before serving, reheat gently. Check the seasoning and serve the soup hot with a dollop of yogurt, a sprinkling of the olives, lemon zest, rosemary or thyme, and a drizzle of olive oil.

4 servings
Adapted from Tessa Kiros’s Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes

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