Divas on a Dime: Chilled soup makes sensational summer sipping

We don’t usually think of soup in summer but that’s because we didn’t know we needed a soup that tastes like summer. All your favorite fresh, sweet, ripe summer veggies blended together into a luscious creamy mouthful that’s as refreshing as a cool Mediterranean breeze.

This recipe is a riff on Spanish gazpacho but unlike gazpacho, this soup is cooked and then chilled. I think it gives it a richness and depth of flavor you don’t find in traditional gazpacho. But it’s still light and cooling, and intensely flavored.

This recipe can star in your next summer gathering or be waiting in your fridge when you need a little vitamin-rich pick-me-up. I almost hate to mention it’s healthy because it takes a little of the magic away. This stuff rocks!

Chilled Tomato and Sweet Pepper Soup

Yield: 4 generous servings

What You’ll Need:

2 red peppers

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium sweet onion – about 2 cups – finely chopped

2 teaspoons garlic – minced

1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes

1 (14 oz.) can (1 ¾ cups) chicken or vegetable broth

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Green onions for garnish

For the croutons

2 slices bread – anything you have

3 tablespoons olive oil

Garlic powder

Here’s How:

Cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds and stem. Place, skin side up, on a baking sheet and place under the broiler until the skins begin to char. You’ll have to keep an eye on them. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a plate, set aside.

In a soup pot, on medium heat, heat the oil. Add the butter right before you add the onions and sauté. When the onions are softened, add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Meanwhile, remove the skins from the peppers and chop ‘em up and chop the tomatoes into chunks. Chop, chop! Add the peppers and tomatoes to the onion mixture in the pan and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken broth and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. I used 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon fresh pepper. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes.

At this point we’re going to blend until smooth, so your equipment will make decisions for you. I have an emersion blender that was perfect for this task. If you use a food processor or a blender, let it cool a bit first because the escaping steam can pop the lids off and make quite the mess.

Let cool completely in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Overnight if possible. When the soup is cold, check the seasoning. Serve the soup in shot glasses or glasses garnished with green onions and croutons.

For the croutons: Cut the bread into strips, heat the oil in a sauté pan add the bread and sauté until golden. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with garlic powder and salt.

Who would love to have this soup as a first course or as a simple summer lunch with a salad or sandwich? You would!

Fabulous Food by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! – www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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