Now I don’t know about you but when cold weather strikes it makes me think of hot chocolate, a rolling fire and a nice hot bowl of fresh homemade soup! This week Wal-mart had red peppers and Roma tomatoes on sale so it worked out perfectly to make this healthy yet satisfying soup. Now when i say a recipe is “skinny” it means that I have browsed around on the web and took the healthier components of various recipes and used them as a guideline to make a healthier version of something. This “skinny” version does not include cream or large amounts of butter as some other ones that i saw. This soup is so yummy I actually went back to the store for more ingredients to make a large batch for the freezer. You will be shocked at how easy it is and will have everyone feeling warm, cozy and asking for more!
To start, you will have to pre-heat your oven to 450 F.
While your oven is heating, you’ll want to chop 1-2 large white or yellow onions, the thinner the better because we are going to Caramelize them. This will remove any of that sharp “oniony” taste and leave a nice sweet onion flavour that will add a lovely dimension to your soup.
Grab a large “soup pot” and put on med low heat. Add 1/4 cup butter (gasp) and a “glug glug” of olive oil, and yes that is an official measurement of oil. 🙂 Put your onions in, pinch of salt, more pepper(of course), and some freshly minced garlic(about 5 cloves) I honestly used the pre minced stuff from costco and its awesome!(no stinky fingers or mess) mix mix mix, coating those onions in the oil, butter and garlic. Now let those onions sweat it out like a bodybuilder in a donut shop. Caramelizing onions is a bit tricky if you’ve never done it before, so if your unfamiliar with the technique it’s basically cooking the sh*t out of your onions on a slow and low so that they get nice and caramelized. This process takes about and hour and they need stirring about every ten minutes or so and then keep putting the lid back on. If they start getting “burny” your stove is too hot. Turn it on low and let those onions get nice and sweet. 🙂 While your onions are having their party, you’ll want to start preparing your peppers and tomatoes for roasting.
Roasting is a great way to enhance the flavour and bring out the natural sweetness of any vegetable without adding any extra sugar, salt or seasonings. So I highly recommend it if your played out on steaming, boiling or have tucked your bbq away for winter.
Wash and Pat dry your red peppers and tomatoes, remove any stickers. Yup, I’ve fed my family stickers before. #noshame
The amount of peppers and tomatoes you use is totally up to you and you can play with the ratios a little depending if you want your soup more tomatoey or more peppery. As you’ll see in the photo I used 12 peppers and about 20 tomatoes. The first time i made it i used about 6 and 10 which made about 10 -15 cups but i wanted loots of soup to freeze this time. So use your discretion and go from there. Same concept with the onion, less soup-1 onion, more soup-2 onions 🙂
Line baking sheet with tin foil (this will reduce amount of cleanup-me likey)
Lay your peppers on the baking sheet, doesn’t have to be fancy, just throw em on there. Then cut your romas in half, place on baking sheet as well. I used two separate baking sheets this time just because I had so many of each but the first time I made it was on the same one and it was fine, unless you are weird like that and want them on a separate sheet, then go for it) Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. It is important that we add small amounts of salt at earlier stages in making a soup so that the salt can help develop the flavours of the food you are cooking rather than just dumping a bunch of salt in at the end and then having your soup just taste like, well, salt. I like to use sea salt because a little goes a long way which helps reduce the sodium but if you’re not worried about sodium then regular salt is fine 🙂 just a sprinkle all over…Loooots of pepper, cause that shit is delicious. Also i opted for Romas because they do have a tendency to be slightly sweeter than other varieties so you can avoid adding any extra sugar or salt. When you roast these two they will be sweet and delicious anyways 🙂
Put your baking sheet(s) in the oven.
After 20 minutes your peppers should start looking wrinkly and a little black in some places, that’s good, means its working. use some tongs, flip em over. leave the tomaters. they’re covered in oil and won’t stick.
Set timer for another 20 minutes. repeat flipping of peppers.
Repeat. This roasting process will take about 45-60 minutes depending on your oven. Just keep an eye on them, the peppers should be slightly charred and the tomatoes will be soft and…roasty? looking. lol.
(this is what they will look like,could even char them a tad bit more for easier skin removal)
Now, it is imperative that you do this next step to save yourself the irritation of painfully peeling off every bit of skin on the pepper. Use your tongs or an oven mitt and put your peppers in a Large ziplock bag or Tupperware container. seal tightly and let the moisture do its magic. let the peppers cool completely in the bag. Oh yeah and turn off the stove and oven. 😛
Once your peppers are cool, remove them from the bag and the skins should come off very easily. toss em. remove stems and seeds and add them to your soup pot along with the beautiful caramelized onions and tomatoes. Add in 1-2 L of low sodium chicken or vegetable broth(depending on how many veggies you roasted) and return your soup to a medium heat. Bring all the ingredients to a simmer and put to low heat for about 10-15 minutes so all those juices can combine and become the best of friends. At this point, you’re looking at your soup, like what the hell is this, it looks disgusting. At least that’s what I thought.
Enter the immersion blender!If you don’t have one…do not panic, although i recommend one, they are fabulous little tools. You can use a regular blender and blend in batches. If you’re soup is still crazy hot and you fear you may burn your hands off than by all means please let it cool off before you begin the blending process. If you have any immersion blender, stick it in there and blend away. if you are using a blender then most definitely let it cool before you start pouring hot liquids all over like a maniac. Once you start blending all the vegetables, stock and onions will start to become the lovely soup you had expected. Now, you can blend it as much or as little as you like depending on how much texture you like in your soup. I prefer mine nice and smooth but you can leave yours a little more rustic or puree it into a baby food like texture if you so please.
This is a lovely soup to serve with Grilled cheese, BLT’s or some crostini drizzled with olive oil. I love to add just a dollop of plain non fat greek yogurt to this dish to add a bit of a tang and creaminess to the soup. It also adds protein which is always a plus! This soup could be made a bit spicier as well by adding crushed chill flakes before blending. I hope your soup turned out and if it didn’t please don’t curse me, just call me up, come over and ill heat you a bowl 🙂