Welcome to our humble abode…

Welcome to Rhode Island, where the RRG family is serving up the second course of our Food Revolution Day Progressive Dinner!  I hope you’re not too stuffed after Billy’s delicious date appetizer to enjoy a little soup.

I wish I could tell you that everything in tonight’s soup was sourced directly from one of the fabulous Farmer’s Markets here in Little Rhody, but sadly, it’s still May…a bit too early for much New England produce.  I got what I could (mainly the herbs and aromatics) from my favorite farmers, and the rest is simply an homage to what summer will bring.  If I’m lucky, most of the ingredients for this simple dish will be harvested from my very own backyard garden the next time I make it — but since every plant I’ve ever had has been forced to join a support group for neglected flora, I’m not holding my breath.

Still, I figure this is a great soup to make even when you can’t get the very best of the best, produce-wise; I’m usually a proponent of ignoring tomatoes until the season, because I don’t think an out-of-season tomato is worth much in general.  Luckily, roasting them  brings out their flavor and sweetness, so if you’re like me and you can’t quite get a REAL tomato yet, this soup represents one of the very rare exceptions to my rule.  The combination of sweet, slightly smoky roasted peppers and tomatoes with fresh mint is light, fresh, and could pair perfectly with any number of menus.  It’s also great on its own for a light lunch, or with a simple sandwich for a satisfying weeknight dinner.

Roasted Tomato and Pepper Soup

Roasted Tomato and Pepper Soup
6 medium tomatoes, halved
3 medium sweet bell peppers (preferably red, orange, or a mixture of the two), halved, seeds removed
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
1 cup water
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large roasting pan, combine tomatoes, peppers, and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, tossing to coat.  Arrange the vegetables in a single layer and roast at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and wrinkled and the skins of the peppers begin to blister and turn slightly black.  Remove the peppers from the roasting pan and transfer them to a zip-top bag or a bowl covered with plastic wrap; allow the peppers to steam for at least 10 additional minutes to help loosen their skins.
While the vegetables are roasting, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and saute for 7-10 minutes, or until very soft and translucent.  Add the paprika, salt, and almonds, and cook, stirring, for 3-5 minutes, until very fragrant.  Pour in the chicken stock and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Put the roasted tomatoes, along with any juices collected in the roasting pan, into the broth.  Simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  While the soup is simmering, remove the peppers from the bag and peel the skins off.  Discard the skins.  Add the peppers and mint to the soup.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sherry vinegar.
With an immersion blender, or working in batches in a traditional blender or food processor, puree the soup until it’s smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve garnished with additional mint and drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.

Still hungry?  I hope so!  Leave a comment for me and you’ll be automatically entered to win a copy of “The United States of Arugula” by David Kamp, one of my all-time favorite fun reads about the rise of foodies in American society.  Then check out the rest of our fantastic Progressive Dinner:

Bacon Wrapped Blue Cheese Dates from Billy at Time at the Table
Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa from Jeanne at The Jolly Tomato
Simple Lemon Quinoa with Peas and Carrots by Eila at the Full Plate Blog
Grilled Spring Vegetables with Homemade Garlic Mayo by Grace at EatDinner.org
And finally, Lemon Buttermilk Pudding Cake with Berries and Cream from Bettina at The Lunch Tray.
And PLEASE, don’t forget one last thing!  I’m still raising money for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation as a member of the Real Food Advocates Team.  In honor of Food Revolution Day, I’m asking that anyone who reads this post, and is able, give just one dollar using this link.  (Please be sure to credit Red, Round, or Green in your donation for tracking purposes.)  Even the smallest contributions can help us bring Real Food to every community!