Roasted red bell pepper and tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons.

I have mentioned this before - fall and early winter are my favorite seasons. I love to slurp up hot soup with my little family when it’s cool outside!

The flavor of the freshly roasted tomatoes and red peppers in this soup makes it so much tastier than store-bought. (The cost of red peppers do drop briefly in early fall…take advantage) Of course you can use the jar of roasted red bell pepper if you are pressed for time. The croutons are made from sharp cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches, cut into cubes and served right on top of the soup -- even better than dunking!
12 roma tomatoes, sliced in half
5 red bell peppers, roasted and charred skin removed.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped onion
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth or water
1/2 teaspoon thyme
Grilled cheese sandwich croutons.
Heat the oven to 400°. On a baking sheet, combine the tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and the salt and pepper. Toss the ingredients to coat evenly and spread them in a single layer. Roast the tomatoes until they are shriveled with brown spots, about 35 to 45 minutes.

Do the same with the red bell peppers, wait till they are cool and discard the charred skins.
In a large pot, heat the butter and the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes.

Add the roasted tomatoes with their juice, the broth, the thyme, and the roasted red bell peppers, including any liquid on the baking sheet. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes.
Using a food processor or immersion blender, puree the soup until it's smooth. Return it to the pot. Without letting the soup boil, warm it over medium heat, stirring often, until steaming. Add salt and pepper, if necessary.
Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with Grilled-Cheese Croutons .
 Makes about 10 cups


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