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Roasted Nightshade Soups + More SoupArt

February 28, 2010

Veggies from the Nightshade family are some of SoupAddict’s very, very favorites: tomatoes, peppers, potatoes. So when she saw this soup recipe in an old issue of Gourmet magazine, she knew she had to make it (and, rename it from the original: “Roasted Yellow Pepper Soup and Roasted Tomato Soup with Serrano Cream.” That’s just too much typing, people. Plus, what sounds more fun to make, a 70-character mouthful, or something with mysterious “Nightshade” in the title? SoupAddict knew you’d agree.)

The lovely part of this recipe is that it’s actually two soups, one yellow, one red, which allows SoupAddict to indulge in her side interest, SoupArt. Which is really nothing more than a highfalutin sounding excuse to play with her food.

SoupAddict was delighted to find a bin full of these lovely yellow bell peppers at the grocery. On sale, even. In winter. [Squeal!]
These pepper guts seems almost jaunty with their sunny yellow colors.
Tsk, tsk, Gourmet magazine, for describing the most annoying method for roasting peppers. SoupAddict will not repeat it here. Instead, seed and quarter the peppers, then roast them under the broiler.
Gorgeous.
When properly roasted, pepper skin is easily removed. But don’t fret if not all of the skin comes off. Just make sure the charred parts are removed and the blender will take care of the rest.
A little shallot will do a body good.
No need to chop up the peppers; ze blender vill take care of eferysing, dahlings.

Puree the soup in two batches until creamy. Don’t forget to remove the little thingy from the center of the lid and cover the opening with a towel, to allow steam to escape and prevent the lid from rocketing to the ceiling. SoupAddict is quite impressed with herself that she remembered.
Whisk in some cream.
And some salt, pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Gorgeous! This soup is absolutely delicious all by itself. But wait … we’re not done.
There’s the tomato soup. SoupAddict is not a fan of winter tomatoes. Hydroponic tomatoes are not your friend. Canned tomatoes are.
See? Beautiful. (But if you’re making this soup with a bounty of fresh summer tomatoes, use 3 pounds of plum tomatoes, roasted, and up the chicken broth to 1 1/2 cups.)
A little Italian seasoning goodness makes this soup zing.
Not only is the presentation attractive, but the combination of sweet peppers and tomatoes is just divine.

Here’s the 1993 cover of Gourmet with their version of SoupArt.
Awwww. SoupAddict [hearts] SoupArt.
Roasted Nightshade Soups
Adapted from Gourmet, March 1993, “Roasted Yellow Pepper Soup and Roasted Tomato Soup with Serrano Cream”
For the pepper soup:
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 yellow bell peppers, cut into quarters and roasted (procedure follows) (about 6 cups)
1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth plus additional to thin the soup
1/4 cup heavy cream
fresh lemon juice to taste
For the tomato soup:
3 cans 28oz each, fire-roasted tomatoes (chopped or diced)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup low-salt chicken broth plus additional to thin the soup
1/4 cup heavy cream
fresh lemon juice to taste

To roast peppers: Broil the peppers on a broiler-proof pan under a preheated broiler about 2 inches from the heat, until the skins are blistered and charred. Transfer the peppers to a bowl and let them steam, covered, until they are cool enough to handle. Peel the pepper skin, starting at the blossom end of each quarter.

Make the pepper soup: In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook the shallot, thyme, and salt and pepper, stirring until the shallot is soft. Add the roasted bell peppers and broth, and simmer, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the peppers are very soft. Purée the soup in a blender in batches until it is very smooth, and transfer to a clean pan. Whisk in the cream, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. If necessary, add additional broth to reach the desired consistency. The soup may be made 1 day in advance, kept covered and chilled, and reheated.

Make the tomato soup: In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook the shallot, the oregano, and salt and pepper, stirring, until the shallot is soft. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and broth, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 15 minutes. Purée the soup in a blender in batches until it is very smooth, and transfer to a clean pan. Whisk in the cream, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. If necessary, add additional broth to reach the desired consistency. The soup may be made 1 day in advance, kept covered and chilled, and reheated.

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3 Comments
  1. March 1, 2010 2:51 am

    boo-hoo, I’m jealous. Can’t find canned roasted tomatoes here 😦 Do you mean I’ll have to wait until summer and *real* tomatoes come along, and then roast them myself? Sheesh.

    (could you explain the reason why you call these veggies *nightshade*? it’s a very nice name and surely much nicer than the other they usually go by as a collective, but I can’t figure out where it comes from. Thanks in advance 🙂 )

  2. SoupAddict permalink
    March 1, 2010 9:38 am

    Hi Marcella,
    Perhaps in Italy you have access to lovely seasonal tomatoes (in which case it’s my turn to be jealous!), but I can tell you, in the US, “lovely” is hard to find in February (pink and hard as rock). Yuck. 😉

    “Nightshade” is the common term for the plant family Solanaceae. Not really sure where “Nightshade” came from. The Solanaceae family includes potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, petunias, tobacco … and the deadly poison, belladonna. Oooo, mysterious!

  3. marcella permalink
    March 1, 2010 4:14 pm

    oh don’t imagine the land of tomatoes. At this time of year they are all watery and tasteless, although looking nice and ripe. Don’t let yourself be fooled. I wouldn’t come nowhere near a fresh tomato until June.

    I was familiar with the Solanaceae name and thought “Nightshade” was an invention of yours 😉 Well, even if it’s not yours, I like it all the same. BTW I once had a boyfriend who was intolerant to the whole family. Imagine a life (and a kitchen) without tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes. I can’t say I would starve, but almost. Poor boy.

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