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Romesco Soup

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Romesco Soup

Romesco Soup

Photo © Molly Watson

When tomatoes and peppers are piled high at the market or coming at a rapid pace out of the garden but the weather is saying "fall," I turn to this Romesco Soup. The flavors are inspired by classic Spanish Romesco Sauce, and the soup is thickened with red lentils and almonds for plenty of protein and healthy fats. Feel free to add a chile or two for a spicy kick, if you like. Serve with crusty bread and a fresh salad for a simple but complete dinner.

Bonus: Canned tomatoes and jarred or frozen roasted peppers work equally well, meaning you can enjoy these flavors later in the year (not to mention with less prep work).

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. tomatoes or 1 can (28 oz) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 4 red bell peppers or 1 jar (12 oz.) peeled red peppers
  • 1 onion
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 cup blanched, slivered almonds

Preparation:

  1. If using fresh tomatoes: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut an "x" in the bottom of each tomato. When water comes to a boil, put the tomatoes in the boiling water until the skin around the "x" starts to peel away a bit, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Drain or lift the tomatoes out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large bowl of ice water or a baking sheet where they can cool off in a single layer. Let cool. Use a paring knife to help slip off the skins. Set peeled tomatoes aside. (See more about How to Peel Tomatoes).
  2. If using fresh peppers: While the water for the tomatoes comes to a boil and then when the tomatoes cool, char and peel the peppers. If you have a gas stove or grill, try using the stove-top method, otherwise, use the broiler method. Set peeled peppers aside.
  3. Peel and coarsely chop the onion. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and the salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, peel and chop the garlic. Add it to the onion. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the paprika. Cook, stirring, to combine. Add broth, roasted peppers, lentils, and almonds. (If using canned tomatoes, add them too!) Bring to a boil.
  5. While the soup is coming to a boil, halve the tomatoes crosswise and squeeze out their seeds. As you seed each tomato, add it to the pot.
  6. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently and adding more water if the soup starts to stick at all or seems too thick, until the lentils are falling-apart tender, about 20 minutes.
  7. Use a hand-held mixer or work in batches with a blender or food processor, and whirl to puree. Let each batch whirl for at least a minute, if not two, to make the soup as silky smooth as possible.
  8. Taste the soup. Add more salt if you like. Serve, garnished with a swirl of olive oil, if you like. Parsley, cilantro, or a few slivers of almond also make lovely garnishes.
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