Zucchini and Roasted Red Pepper Puree

There is an old saying in the mountains, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.” It is hot and muggy and then the heavens open up and it hails so much there are flash-flood warnings. A beautiful summer evening is followed by an incredibly hot day with no clouds in sight — until it rains. Oh well, we need the water as any year-round resident will attest to.

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During these times of fluctuations in the weather, it can be hard to pick what you are in the mood for as far as dinner goes. When the temperature is above normal, it’s hard to sit down to a heavy meal. Temperatures 15 to 20 degrees F above normal will affect your appetite. During the colder times, it is great to sit down to a hearty meat-and-potato dinner or some other meal that will stick to your bones.

Soups can be the perfect choice for nights hotter than normal summer temperatures. A pureed soup, which can be served cold or hot, can be made heartier by adding meat or chunks of veggies to it. You can also add heavy cream to make it rich.

The zucchini, roasted red pepper soup is light enough to be a good choice on those warm nights and also hearty enough to hold you over until breakfast. And, oh yes, keep this recipe handy for the chill of autumn, too, because it is really just as awesome hot as it is cold.

This is a cream soup. As I have stated in the past, just because it is a cream soup doesn’t necessarily mean there is cream in it. It simply means it has been creamed or pureed. Most chefs these days will call it a zucchini and roasted red pepper puree because it will give him or her a few advantages.

First, when you mention a cream soup, a lot of people will presume there is cream in it and shy away from it because of the fat content. Another reason to call it a puree is because it sounds healthier and fancier. People order food from menus that sound a little more extravagant than what they could make at home.

No matter if you call this soup, give it a try for a great summer meal and enjoy.

Zucchini & Roasted Red Pepper Puree

5 zucchinis, sliced
1 red pepper
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 to 5 red potatoes, (depending on size) peeled & sliced
36 oz. chicken stock
¾ stick of butter
Salt & pepper to taste

Roast the pepper at 450 degrees F until well darkened. Turn it over once during cooking to allow both sides to blacken. Once good and charred on the outside, put the pepper in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool. This will help separate the skin from the meat.

Sauté the onion and garlic in the butter until the onion starts to turn translucent. Add the zucchini and sauté until that also starts to turn translucent. Add the potatoes and sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes so they start to release their starch. Add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until all the ingredients are soft.

Peel and seed the pepper and cut it into quarters. Puree the soup in small batches; be careful of the steam. The hot soup will expand when you turn your blender on so use a cloth and hold the lid on tight and always start on low. Add a piece of the pepper every small batch you puree until everything is done. Don’t be worried if the soup does not appear red, the flavor of the pepper will be there. Finish with salt and pepper to taste.