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Red Pepper Soup with Olives, Lemon Zest, and Yogurt
From Falling Cloudberries, by Tessa Kiros

You can add any flavors you like to the base of this soup. Here, I use fresh rosemary and serve the soup with a yogurt, black olive, and lemon flavor. You might like to use another herb like fresh basil with a swirl of cream, or try adding a good kick of chile oil to serve. You could even add a drop of truffle oil and a couple of broiled shrimp. Serve with or without the yogurt.

Ingredients:

4 red peppers, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed with the flat of a knife
1 small red onion, sliced
4 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1 (14-ounce) can tomatoes, chopped
1-1/4 cups plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup pitted black olives, roughly chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Leaves from 2 rosemary sprigs, finely chopped

Instructions:

Preheat the broiler to high. Line a large baking sheet with foil and arrange the peppers, skin side up, in a single layer. Broil for about 30 minutes, until the skin has darkened in places and swelled up and the peppers are soft. You might need to move them around on the sheet so they are evenly broiled or remove the halves that are blackened and leave some in for longer.

Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap (or put in a plastic bag and seal) and let sweat for 10 minutes to make peeling easier. Peel off the skin.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the garlic and onion for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato and cook until it begins to bubble. Add the pepper halves, tearing them into large chunks as you put them in the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and purée. The soup should be fairly thick: if it seems too watery, simmer uncovered for a while longer. If it seems too thick, add a little more water.

Check the seasoning and serve the soup hot with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkling of chopped olives, lemon zest, and rosemary.

Yield: Serves 4

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