Puree and simple: vegetable soup


November 14, 1999|By Annette Gooch | Annette Gooch,Universal Press Syndicate

Some of the richest-tasting, creamiest vegetable soups are made in only half an hour -- and entirely without milk or cream, or even flour or cornstarch for thickening.

What makes such soup possible are plenty of ripe vegetables to provide superb color and pure, sweet flavor, and a food processor or blender (conventional or immersion) to spin everything into a velvety puree.

Sweet peppers, carrots, spinach and other produce make exquisite pureed soups. For a dairy-free version, substitute olive oil for the butter in the red pepper soup recipe below. It makes an elegant first course or, with a salad and some bread, a satisfying little lunch or light supper.

Earthy-sweet flavor and stunning color make it a favorite among cream-soup lovers; a blender or food processor makes it quick and easy to prepare. Use any ripe (not green) sweet peppers: red, yellow, orange or purple.

Red Pepper Soup

Makes 5 1/2 cups, 4 or 5 servings

3 tablespoons butter

3 large red bell peppers (about 1 1/4 pounds), seeded and chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

pinch cayenne pepper

3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each)

2 teaspoons lemon juice

salt (optional)

few sprigs Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, for garnish

In a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add bell peppers and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft but not browned. Mix in cumin and cayenne; then add chicken stock.

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Puree, using blender or food processor. Return puree to cooking pan. Mix in lemon juice. Taste; add salt if needed.

Reheat; serve in warmed bowls, garnished with parsley.

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