Tomato and Bell Pepper Soup with Basil Garnish

   Photo: Helen Nash's New Kosher Cuisine

Adapted from Helen Nash's New Kosher Cuisine by Helen Nash

This soup has a beautiful orange color and a slightly spicy taste, and it is equally good served hot or at room temperature. To make it less piquant, substitute jalapeño pepper for the red chile. I love the basil garnish, but you can omit this if time is short. Because everything can be prepared in advance, this dish is ideal when you are expecting many guests.


3 red bell peppers
1 small red chile or jalapeño pepper (see note*)
4 pounds (1.80 kg) ripe tomatoes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
3 cups (750 ml) vegetable broth
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

4 cups (160 g) loosely packed fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


To make the soup: Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise, then core and seed them. Cut them into pieces. Cut the chile in half lengthwise and seed it. Cut into pieces. Core the tomatoes, cut them in half widthwise and gently squeeze out the seeds. (Some seeds will remain.) Cut the tomatoes into pieces.

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and chili or jalapeño pepper and sauté for 2 minutes over low heat. Add the bell peppers, tomatoes, and broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Cool the soup a little. Purée the soup in a blender, in batches, for several minutes until silky smooth. (All traces of the skin from the peppers and tomatoes should be gone.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the garnish: Place the basil leaves in a food processor. Add oil and pulse until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Before serving, reheat the soup and ladle it into bowls. Garnish with 1 teaspoon of the basil purée.


Yield: 12 servings

This soup freezes well. When reheating, whisk it as it begins to boil to bring back the creamy texture.

* When seeding chiles or jalapeño peppers, I advise wearing thin plastic gloves to avoid irritating your skin or your eyes.

Recipes: Soups, Bell Pepper, Parve, Kosher


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