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Tomato Chile Soup

Tomato Chile Soup

I had a bountiful harvest of tomatoes and chile peppers, and needed to use them up. I found a recipe for red bell pepper and tomato soup, and thought that might be a good starting point. I made it with a variety of peppers, and found I still needed to add some herbs and spices to make it special. Well, it was a huge hit, and now we won't wait for a harvest; this is worth buying tomatoes and chiles at the market just for the soup.

The combination of peppers was what I had on hand, and that's what is in the recipe. But the makeup of the chile mixture can certainly be varied, and I think you should use whatever suits you, or whatever is in the market.

Here's the recipe to make Tomato Chile Soup:
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 red bell pepper
    2 green Anaheim (or California) chiles
    3 jalapeņos (two had turned red on the vine, but I don't think that matters much)
    1 yellow onion, chopped
    6 tomatoes, chopped
    4 cloves garlic, chopped
    2 canned chipotles, chopped
    3 cups chicken broth
    1 teaspoon dried parsley
    1/2 teaspoon cumin
    1/2 teaspoon oregano
    1/2 teaspoon white pepper
    1/4 (or more) teaspoon cayenne pepper
    sprigs of cilantro
    salt, pepper, MSG

The chipotles are dried, smoked, marinated, and canned jalapeņos, in case you don't remember. They aren't absolutely necessary, but give a nice warm flavor in dishes.

Chop the bell pepper, discarding the seeds and pith. Prepare the Anaheim chiles by roasting, peeling, and chopping them. You don't need to peel the jalapeņos, just roast, seed, and chop. Dice the onion.

Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan, and add the onion. Cook for three minutes and add the garlic. Cook for another minute or two and add the remaining ingredients, not including the last two. Simmer for 20 minutes or so.

Either pour the soup into a food processor or blender or use a hand-held blender to puree the soup. (If you use a blender, put a towel over the top because blending hot stuff makes it expand and you'll have soup splatters coming out of the top onto you and the rest of the kitchen.)

Season the soup to your taste, put in serving bowls, and garnish with the fresh cilantro. Serve with French bread or warm tortillas.

This soup is also very good cold. When serving cold, you can add a blob of sour cream and swirl it a little to make it look and taste pretty special. Enjoy!


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