Red Pepper Soup

From the San Jose Mercury News, who credit Modern Maturity Magazine, who then credit The Best American Recipes of 2000, who then credit Susan Goodman. Whew.

June 2009 - With some time on my hands, I did the prep work for this on Sunday and cooked it up Monday evening. The soup tastes great and has a beautiful red orange color. One optional step adds some work to improve the mouth feel, but the flavor is already there if you want to avoid the work.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Simmer time: 30 minutes
Serves 6

A. olive oil 2 tablespoons  
red bell peppers 8 large Remove stem, seeds, white stuff. Chop into big pieces.
carrots 3 large Peel and chop into 0.25 inch bits.
  shallots 2 Chopped.
  garlic 2 cloves Chopped.

In a 4 quart pot with a heavy bottom, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

Add the chopped vegetables. Cover and cook about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Do not let them brown; stir from time to time.

B. chicken broth 4 cups  
ripe banana 1 Peel and cut into 1 inch slices. You may substitute a ripe pear which makes the soup a bit sweeter.

Add broth and fruit to the vegetables.

Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

C. salt 1 teaspoon  
cayenne pepper 0.25 teaspoon  
plain yogurt 1 cup Use a thin yogurt, not "Greek style".

Remove from the heat. Use a stick blender to puree the soup.

Optional step: If you eat the soup as-is you will have little bits of pepper skin to deal with. It's not bad, but if you want a more formal soup then use a strainer and press the soup through it. This takes about 15 minutes of work and does nothing to the flavor. Of course if you have a chinois this step is easy. Still, that's another step and the strainer is hard to pick all the bits out of when you clean up.

Add salt to taste and cayenne pepper.

Place the soup in bowls. Then put a dollop of yogurt in the center of each.