Today's soup is a lovely alternative to a tomato soup. It's Panera Bread's
Smoky Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup
One of the things that I have enjoyed about the Panera soup recipes is how easy it is to put the soups together as well as how little time it takes. The ingredients for this soup may seem a little strange, like pomegranate and orange juice, but it works. If you would like and you have the time, you could roast your own red bell peppers, but I followed the recipe and bought a jar and the soup went together in a snap. As I said, this is a soup that is a great alternative to a tomato soup and would be so nice paired with a grilled cheese sandwich, perfect for lunch. You can find the recipe on the Panera website here.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 cups roasted red bell peppers
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh parsley
1 Yukon Gold potato (about 4 ounces), peeled and chopped
1/4 cup pomegranate juice, plus a few drops for garnish
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup light sour cream
Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and carrot and cook until carrots soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add bell peppers, broth, and paprika, and bring to a boil over high heat.
Tie thyme and parsley sprigs with kitchen string or a clean twist tie and drop into soup along with potatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove thyme-parsley bundle and transfer soup to a blender or food processor (in batches, if necessary). Add pomegranate juice, orange juice, salt, and pepper. Puree soup until very smooth, about 2 minutes.(I use a hand held mixer and puree the soup right in the pot) Rewarm over low heat, then remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Ladle into bowls and garnish each serving with a few drops of pomegranate juice.
I did not have smoked paprika, so I added a few drops of Liquid Smoke once the soup had cooked. Be careful with the Liquid Smoke as a little goes a long way. If you like a smoky taste, add a drop and then carefully add more to taste. I also added quite a bit more black pepper, but then, I like pepper...A LOT!!
If you are going to freeze the soup, do not add the sour cream prior to freezing. I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe, interesting ingredients that work well together. A lovely fall soup.