From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...A friend, who traveled with me through Spain and Morocco, sent me this photo over the weekend. I pride myself, often to a fault, with being an unobtrusive traveler. It appears I don't always practice what I preach. Given what I'm carrying and the paraphernalia I've draped over my body, the only possible tourist identifier I'm missing is a visible display of my passport in one of those horrid necklace thingies. I can just hear the locals whispering, "Here come the Americans". I really dropped the ball here, but the picture reminded me of a soup we shared the day it was taken. I enjoyed the soup enough to search out a recipe for it, and while it is a bit more involved to make than many of the soups I feature here, it truly is worth the effort. Those of you who enjoy new flavor pairings will really enjoy the eggplant and pepper combination. I have no real cautions to share with you regarding its preparation, save for the need to strain the soup before it is served. The texture of the pureed soup is decidedly grainy and may be off putting to some. Staining solves the problem. Do give this a try. This is the type of soup that is served as the last meal of the day in Spain and Morocco, so despite the spice mix it is easy to digest. Here is how it's made.
Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Soup ...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Pamela Clark at Australian Women's Weekly
3 large eggplants
1 large red bell pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground sweet smoked paprika (pimenton)
6 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup lemon juice
Red Pepper Cream
1 large red pepper
1 large onion quartered
1-1/2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup whipping cream
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2) Pierce eggplant several times with a skewer and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast uncovered for 45 minutes, or until soft. Cook for 15 minutes, then peel and chop flesh.
3) Quarter pepper, remove seeds and membranes and roast until skin blisters and blackens. Cover pepper pieces with plastic and let sit for 5 minutes. Peel away skin and chop flesh.
3) Heat oil in a large pan, add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft. Add chopped eggplant, red pepper, tomato, cumin and paprika and stir for 2 minutes. Add stock and lemon juice and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
4) Blend or process until smooth, then press through a fine strainer. Discard pulp. Return soup to pan and stir occasionally until hot. Top with red pepper cream. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
5) Meanwhile, roast remaining pepper and onion until pepper blisters and onion is soft. Remove skin, seeds and membranes from pepper. Process pepper, onion and water until smooth. Whip cream in a small bowl until soft peaks form, then fold into pepper mixture.
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