Smoked Red Bell Pepper Soup

Smoky flavor, mild sweetness of red bell pepper, and tangy tomato makes a delicious soup. Excellent for winter evenings.

Red bell pepper – 2 medium
Tomato – 2 medium
Garlic cloves – 4-5
Onion – 1
Italian seasoning (Fresh basil leaves) – 1 tsp
Bay leaf – 1/2 a leaf
Pomace olive oil (butter) – 1 tsp
Water as needed
Pepper powder to taste
Salt to taste

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Makes 2 cups

Method: Boil water in a vessel. When the water starts boiling, put the tomatoes into the boiling water. Let it boil in medium flame for 5-7 mins. Turn off the heat. Keep aside and let the tomato cool down.
Use a fork to prick the red bell pepper. Place the bell pepper on the flame on the stove top. If you have a wire mesh, you may place the bell pepper on the mesh. Turn the bell pepper occasionally to ensure that it gets roasted all over. When you start getting a smokey flavor and the bell pepper starts turning black in certain places, remove from fire. Let it cool.
Peel and chop garlic and onion.
Place a pan on fire and add olive oil. Put in chopped garlic and roast until golden. Put the chopped onion and bay leaf. Roast for 3 mins in medium flame. Turn off the fire. Keep aside.
Remove the tomatoes from water. Carefully remove the tomato peel. Cut the tomatoes into halves and remove the seeds. Put the tomato pulp into a mixer jar.
Similarly, remove the charred peels of the roasted bell pepper. Ensure that the skin is thoroughly removed. Wash under running water. Cut the peeled and washed roasted bell pepper into big chunks and put it into the mixer jar along with the tomato pulp. Add the roasted garlic and chopped onion. Take care to remove the bay leaf. Grind to a smooth puree. Pass through a soup strainer to ensure that the pureed mixer does not contain tomato or bell pepper skin. Keep aside.
Heat a pan, add half a cup of water and bring to boil.
Add the strained tomato and bell pepper puree and bring to boil.
Add salt, pepper powder, and Italian seasoning. Simmer in slow fire for 2 mins and then turn off.
Serve with fresh basil leaf garnish.

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