June 6, 2009

Soup of the evening, beautiful soup

One of my passions is cooking. I don’t get much of a chance to in Santa Rosalia since the guesthouse employs a cook. So today I am going to experiment with making Red Pepper and Orange Soup for lunch. The recipe comes from the Reader’s Digest Spanish language cookbook Cocina Fantástica which our cook borrowed from her friend to show me, and I was able to purchase on http://www.exlibris.com/ as it is out of print. This is such a great cookbook, full of delicious and unusual recipes that after I had sampled some of them, I bought a copy for myself as well. Theoretically the recipes can be prepared in 30 minutes.

Among my most favorite vegetables are red bell peppers. We don’t have access to them but once in a blue moon in Santa Rosalia. Last time I saw them I bought most of what they had even though they were slightly wilty and had Esperando roast them on the grill. Then I peeled them, put them in a jar, and covered them with olive oil and we ate them up over the course of the week. Now that I am in Denver for awhile this is an opportunity to see if I like this different sounding soup recipe.

Red Pepper and Orange Soup
Serves 4

2 T olive oil
2 lbs red peppers
2 cloves minced garlic
3 Seville or blood oranges
1 T orange flower water (available at health food, gourmet grocer or large liquor store)

In a large casserole, heat the oil over a medium fire. Devein the red peppers and cut into quarters lengthwise, then slice into large pieces. Sauté the pepper and garlic; add salt to taste. Cover the casserole and heat to high until vapor begins to escape from under the lid. Reduce flame to very low or they will burn, and cook for 25 minutes or until peppers are really soft, turning them from time to time so that they cook in their own juices. (Here in Denver we are at a high altitude so I had to cook them for 40 minutes.) Meanwhile in a mixing bowl, juice the oranges until you have ¾ of a cup of juice. (I cheated and purchased fresh squeezed orange juice from the grocery store, but I think blood oranges would be really good.) Add the orange flower water to the orange juice. When the peppers are well cooked, puree them in a blender or food processor. Add the orange juice mixture to the blender and liquefy again. Adjust seasonings, I added salt enough to balance out the sweetness of the oranges. Heat the soup again and serve with a little chopped parsley. What's not to like?

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