Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Red Pepper Soup with Sumac, Basil, and Lemon Yoghurt
Mmm, caramelized peppers and onions. I never used to like bell peppers, but a few weeks ago I realized that cooking them slowly over low heat until they're golden and caramelized and meltingly sweet turns them into something all together wonderful. Since then, my kitchen has been seeing lots of bell peppers.
This lovely, light soup comes from Suzanne Goin's Sunday Suppers at Lucques (highly recommended!). She instructs you to chill the soup, but I didn't. It was delicious hot, but it would also be nice cold as a light starter for a late summer or an autumn meal. The red peppers are a nice change of pace from tomato-based soups. If you'd like to make this a bit heartier, I think that navy beans or those big, white broad beans would be a good choice.
Don't forget to add the sumac and basil-- they really make the soup! I also added a little bit of tahini to the yoghurt, because I don't exactly dig soy yoghurt.
Red Pepper Soup with Sumac, Basil, and Lemon Yoghurt (serves 4 as a starter or light lunch)
1 small sprig rosemary
1 chile de arbol, crumbled (I used crushed red pepper)
2 cups diced onion
1 tbsp thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dry)
1 3/4 lbs red bell peppers
2 tsp ground sumac
1/4 tsp granulated sugar
1 cup (soy) yoghurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sliced basil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Heat a large pot over high heat for 2 minutes. Add some olive oil, the rosemary, and the chile. Let them sizzle a minute or so, then add the onion, thyme, 1tsp salt, and a good dose of pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft, translucent, and starting to color.
While the onion is cooking, cut the peppers in half lengthwise, throught the stems, Use a pring knife to remove the stems, seeds, and membranes. Cut the peppers into rough 1-inch pieces.
Rase the heat back to hight, and add the peppers, 1 tsp sumac, sugar, 1 tbsp salt and more freshly ground black pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the peppers start to caramelize slightly.
Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, and simmer about 30 minutes, until the peppers are cooked through and tender but not mushy.
Puree the soup (I used an imersion blender).
Meanwhile, stir the yoghurt, lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp salt together.
Garnish the soup with dollops of yoghurt, a sprinkling of sumac, and the basil.