Monday, February 15, 2010

The Red Soup

I have a new toy. It's called an immersion blender. I have been using it for batches of soup the past couple of weeks and I have to tell you, it's not the best thing since sliced bread. It's BETTER.
At least for now. The brand I bought at Target apparently gets terrible reviews on Amazon, leading me to think I may soon need to replace the one I have. When I do, this Cuisinart model will be next on my list.)

I can't believe it has taken me so long to get one of these. For a long time, I've avoided making soups that need to be pureed. I just didn't want to deal with juggling hot soup and the mess of cleaning a blender or food processor.

Well, those days are over. Now I just plug in the hand blender, poke the little blade down into my pot of soup and let the puree begin. Beautiful! When I'm finished, the blade-stick detaches from the motor easily and cleaning is a breeze. Life is good.

This soup recipe doesn't require pureeing necessarily. But using the blender means that I can get by with coarse chopping the vegetables, which saves time. Plus, the blending seems to distribute the seasonings more evenly.

I've made many batches of this soup, no two alike. I vary the ingredients depending on what I have on hand. The only thing that is consistent is that it is red. Sometimes, I substitute a cup of milk for some of the water toward the end of cooking to make a cream soup. Floating a few freshly made croutons or my yummy crostini on top makes a nice addition when serving. As always, fresh organic vegetables are best.

The Red Soup
3/4 c. chopped shallot
1 red pepper chopped
2-3 cloves garlic chopped
olive oil for sauteing
2 c. chicken broth
1-2 c. water
2 carrots finely grated
1 beet finely grated
2 10 oz cans tomato sauce
Dried basil flakes, sea salt and pepper (white or cayenne) to taste

Saute the shallot, red pepper and garlic in the olive oil.
When the vegetables are soft, add the chicken broth, grated carrots, beet and tomato sauce.
Add water as needed to bring to "soup like" consistency.
Simmer a few minutes.
Add basil and pepper and simmer another 10 minutes or so.
Taste to see if there's enough seasoning. Adjust as needed.