Mezze & Dolce

Light Mediterranean Meals Paired with Ample Dessert

Mezze: Spicy Red Pepper and Tomato Soup with Polenta

Good final

Tomato soup and grilled cheese are the ultimate comfort food.  Well, for some.  Many M & D fans may not know this, but…I don’t like cheese!  (Well, I like 7 cheeses, but that’s not all that interesting).  This recipe is a cheese-less alternative to this comfort classic that uses baked polenta bits to soak up some of the soup.  Polenta is a thick porridge of boiled cornmeal that can be found throughout many parts of the Mediterranean, especially around the Adriatic.  The soup itself is adapted from Red Molly Cooks, and combines smoky, roasted red peppers with a tangy tomato base and spicy Serrano chiles.  And be forewarned: This version is spicy.  As my friend Christina said, it’s just not made for a “British palate.”  The good news for milder folks is that you can add in the chile according to your taste. –jaime

P.S.  This recipe also uses the floral herb marjoram, which I recently discovered when making Saffron Chicken and Herb Salad.  I’m becoming a big fan of its unique woodsy flavor…

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 large russet potato, peeled and thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 bay leaf

1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram

1 tablespoon tomato paste

6 cups broth (I used chicken, but you can definitely make this veggie)

1 10-15 ounce can tomato sauce (not to be confused with pasta sauce – this is an actual canned tomato product)

4 red bell peppers, roasted and chopped (I’ve been into roasting my own peppers lately and give instructions at the bottom, but you can use jarred roasted peppers to speed things up)

2 serrano chiles, roasted and chopped (keep seeds in for extra spiciness)

2 teaspoons paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Freshly ground pepper

A splash of balsamic vinegar

1 16 ounce roll of polenta

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 375.

2.  Heat oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven.  Saute onion and potato for about 10 minutes or until starting to brown.

3.  Add garlic through marjoram and stir one more minute.  Add tomato paste and stir for another minute so that the vegetables are coated in the paste.

4.  Add broth and stir to loosen any veggies that may have stuck to the pan.  Add tomato sauce through ground pepper.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for around 25 minutes or until the potato is tender.

5.  While soup is cooking, cut polenta into 1/2 inch squares and lay out on a greased cooking sheet.  Lightly coat with cooking spray, season with salt (or garlic salt) and pepper, and put in the oven.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden, turning polenta pieces over midway.   Take out of the oven.

6.  Remove bay leaf from soup and puree with either an immersion or regular blender.  Stir in vinegar and taste for any adjustments in seasoning (s & p, herbs, vinegar, etc).

7.  Place soup in bowls and top with a few pieces of polenta and chopped marjoram for garnish.

Good peppers

Roasted Red Peppers

Preheat broiler.  Place peppers on a foil lined cooking sheet and broil until softening and blackening on all sides.  Make sure to turn the peppers every 10 minutes or so to ensure an even roast.

When done, remove peppers and place them in a closed container or pot so that they sit in their own steam for about 10 minutes. This makes it easier to pull their skins off.  When mostly cooled, peel off their skins and remove the stems.

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One comment on “Mezze: Spicy Red Pepper and Tomato Soup with Polenta

  1. Pingback: Mezze: Pita-crusted Cauliflower with Muhammara | Mezze & Dolce

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This entry was posted on January 31, 2013 by in Mezze, Soups and tagged , , , .

About Jacque & Jaime

Jaime and Jacque are two gals who discovered a mutual passion for Mediterranean flavors and ingredients and never turned back. They started Mezze & Dolce to share this love, their recipes, and their inspirations with the world. Follow them at www.mezzeanddolce.com.

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