Today is the hottest day yet in a summer of heat waves, heat advisories & extreme heat alerts. I’m sticking to the air. Even the sky is heavy and sweating – Toronto’s supposed to get a thunderstorm tonight. Needless to say, this is not a day for ovens or stovetops. For lunch, I ate a sandwich with leftover cold soup.
I’d tell you about the sandwich – on my first Montreal-style bagel since moving to Toronto, something I have sorely missed – but the soup’s the relevant thing. It comes out of your fridge chilled & golden, ready to eat instantly – all the work’s been done ahead of time. I made it first a few years ago at another Farm weekend, because a) it’s treat food (yellow bell peppers & white wine? Don’t mind if I do), and b) it’s impressive without taking up any of your pre-dinner, want-to-be-by-the-pool time. Now, I make it once a summer, during a hot stretch – I’ll turn the stove on in the mornings when it’s coolest and get the sauteing out of the way, and then set it in the fridge to cool and become deliciously chilled for dinner.
Notes: Want to cut down on prep time & dishes? Don’t bother pureeing the soup; call it rustic and serve as is. This soup works well on its own on the-humidity-ate-my-appetite days, but it also makes a pretty stellar accompaniment to BBQ (should you be so lucky to have one), or crispy, spicy meats done in your oven or stove (when you can bear to turn them on).
Yellow Bell Pepper Soup
2 large yellow bell peppers, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup dry white wine
generous pinch of turmeric
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
chopped fresh cilantro, to garnish
1. Reserve 1/2 cup of chopped bell pepper – place it in a bowl or zip lock bag and refrigerate.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the rest of the bell peppers with the onion, garlic, thyme & bay leaf. Saute until tender (about 15 minutes). Pour in wine & turmeric, and bring the soup to a boil for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring back to a boil before reducing heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally until vegetables are tender (about 15 minutes). Fish out and discard the bay leaf. Allow the soup to cool slightly.
3. Puree in a blender and season to taste with salt & pepper. Refrigerate soup until read to serve. Serve cold from the fridge, sprinkled with reserved bell pepper & chopped cilantro.