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25 October 2009

Roasted Red Pepper and Raspberry Soup

Last summer Lovemuffin and Pricklypear were lucky enough to go to Paris with his Parental Figures. They had heard about this amazing restaurant that they really wanted to go to. I wish I could remember the name of it, because it was truly amazing and I would like to recommend it to everyone I know. They served dinner in 4 courses, but it was a fairly casual place. One of the things that Lovemuffin got was this soup, Roasted Red Pepper and Raspberry Soup, and for some reason it is the only thing I really remember, probably because the combination seemed so unlikely, and yet it was so incredibly delicious. It was a vivid red color, kind of tangy, kind of sweet, and I could actually taste both the rasberries and the peppers, and they really complimented each other. I have thought about this soup on and off ever since then, fully intending to make an imitation. I did try it once, but I wasn't satisfied. The other night I tried again, and this time I think I succeeded. I'm sure it's not exactly the same as the one in Paris, but it's the same idea and it is very good.

Roasted Red Pepper and Raspberry Soup
3 red bell peppers
2 tomatoes
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic
4 c. water
1 c. vegetable stock
1/2 tsp. dried oregano, or 1 tsp fresh
approx 6 oz. frozen raspberries
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the bell peppers in half, remove seeds and stem, place on a broiler pan, skin side up and broil for about 10 minutes, until the skins are black and charred. Keep an eye on them, you may need to rotate them or the pan to char it as evenly as possible. Remove from broiler and immediately drop into a paper bag, close bag and let the peppers steam and cool. Place the whole tomatoes on the broiler pan, broil until the skins begin to blister and char a little, turn them over, and repeat on the other side. (More on charring peppers and tomatoes in another post.) The tomatoes will go faster than the peppers, and their skins don't need to become very black, mostly just blistered. Remove to a bowl, let cool, and slip off the skins. Peel the charred skins off the cooled peppers. Chop the peppers and the tomatoes into smaller pieces, don't worry about making them even sizes or shapes, they just need to be smaller. Chop the onion into smaller pieces, and crush the garlic cloves.
Place the peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, water and vegetable stock in a medium size pot. Bring to a boil, let simmer for about 30 minutes, until the onions and garlic are both soft. Add the oregano near the end of the cooking time. Let cool for a few minutes, then puree the soup in batches in a blender. Place the frozen raspberries in the blender, ladle some of the soup over them, enough to cover, and then puree both together. Strain this to remove the raspberry seeds, then put the strained liquid back with the rest of the soup. At this point you can either serve the soup right away (it may need a little re-warming after adding the cold raspberries), or chill and serve it either warm or cold later. Serves 4, with some leftovers.
*Note--if you have leftovers and keep them for a couple days in the fridge, the flavor becomes super intense.*

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