Roasted Tomato Soup with Basil and Bell Peppers

April 27, 2010


Appetizers, Dinner, Fall, Local Eating, Lunch, Recipes, Seasons, Side Dishes, Soup, Spring, Summer

Post this article or share with a friend


If you like this recipe, I am sure you will love these related recipes!



It’s not tomato season yet, although they’re coming up soon… here in Houston at least.  I eyeball my little, green fruits every time I come home, weighing them in my mind’s eye, wondering when I’ll have to put up chicken wire to keep the eager squirrels from running off with my loot, as they always seem to do, the day before I’m ready to harvest.  The toms are not there yet: bitter, poisonous lumps they remain, but their very presence has whet my appetite: as have the very red, very round hydroponic tomatoes recently debuting at the market. They are too seductive to resist.


No matter how beautiful—or how well their flavor stands up to their wan, grocery store brethren—these early tomato specimens don’t thrill me the way a sun-ripened fruit might. But that’s ok, because the weather here has still been dipping at night, and I’m not yet averse to turning on the oven and coaxing a little sweetness out of my preemptive tomatoes. In a few months, when the season is at its peak, I’ll eat nearly everything raw. But for now, roasted tomatoes with a dash of sugar are a total pleasure, especially if you gussy them up a bit, say with some basil, peppers and a dash of cream.

I’m also highly inclined towards soup in the evenings. It is the epitome of comfort to slowly spoon your dinner—savoring each bite by necessity. I wish I were capable of eating slower in general, in which case food would probably satisfy me more quickly. Alas, I am not. Instead, I play tricks on myself, like roasting and pureeing and making things boil in order that I might enjoy them for a slightly longer period. It doesn’t always work: right now, I have a burnt tongue, for example.


But what is better, a blistered mouth or the stomach ache I’m guaranteed through July and August, when I go about devouring quarts of gazpacho? I think it’s a symptom of having been to prep school, where dinner lasted fifteen minutes and I spent four years rushing to get my marinara and penne  down in time for study hall. There are some things I savor: wine, chocolate, cheese (whatever wine, chocolate and cheese I consumed in high school was undoubtedly of low quality). For some reason, I spend the warmer months of my adult life rushing at the tomato—perhaps because they come and go, apparently abundant, and then notably absent for so long. Well, my cup runneth over with spring and I really do need to take a deep breath and give thanks for modern technology: God bless the hoop house and all its advances.

This soup put to use a few other things, lurking locally: some fennel from the garden, and basil, too. I also have lots of onions on hand, and loads of roasted red peppers, a jarred recollection of August 2009. The recipe is a rendition of one I read in my favorite vegetarian food blog, 101 cookbooks, although I’m not shy about swirling in a bit of cream at the end. Roasted tomatoes and cream… who needs strawberries?


Roasted Tomato Soup with Basil and Bell Peppers

2-3 pounds of tomatoes, any kind, cored and halved or quartered, depending on size
1 c roasted red peppers
(alternatively, you can roast two raw peppers alongside your tomatoes)

1 fennel bulb, sliced
3 medium yellow onions, quartered
1 head of garlic, generously coated in olive oil
3 cups of stock—vegetable or chicken
1 c basil, torn plus 1 T chiffonade for garnish
2 t turbinado sugar
2 T olive oil
1 t balsamic vinegar
Heavy cream for garnish
s & p


Heat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, coat tomatoes and sliced fennel with olive oil.

Spread evenly across two baking sheets, placing the tomatoes on one sheet and the onions, fennel and garlic on another.

Sprinkle with salt and roast about 20 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften.

Drizzle balsamic vinegar and sugar across tomatoes and rotate both pans.

Cook an additional 25 minutes, or until caramelized.

While vegetables cool somewhat, bring broth to a simmer and cover.

When garlic cloves are cool enough to handle, squeeze them from their skins.

Place ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, working in small batches to prevent heat-related injuries.

Just before serving, reheat blended soup and garnish with cream and basil.

Alternatively, allow to cool completely and serve chilled.

Post this article or share with a friend

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Twitter Bread and Courage Feed Facebook