Roasted Pepper, Tomato and Onion Soup

Intentionally vague, this recipe allows you to adapt it to circumstance and preference, guided by the asbestos layer in
your mouth and the bounty of your garden or farmers market.

With the whole palette of peppers, this recipe becomes a canvas of flavors, contrasting the deep burnish of roasting
to the sweetness of tomatoes and onions, and the spicy hot chilies and smoky chipotle. You can just as well grill the vegetables outdoors as well as broil them in your kitchen.

2 pounds or more sweet bell peppers—red, yellow, green and orange, as you choose—plus hot chili peppers according to your taste
3 or more large ripe tomatoes
3 large onions, peeled, quartered and root trimmed
1 chipotle pepper (smoked and dried jalapeño), or to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Salt to taste
2–4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Chopped fresh oregano or cilantro leaves or sliced green scallion tops for garnish

Preheat the broiler. Lay the peppers in a roasting pan along with the tomatoes and onions. Roast themclose to the heating element, turning with tongs as they blister and char. The tender tomato skins will char first; remove them to a bowl, saving the juices, and continue until the other vegetables are well browned and cooked through.

Meanwhile, put the dried chipotle pepper in a small cup and cover with boiling water to rehydrate it; when cool, discard the stem, slit open to remove the seeds andmince the flesh.

Heat the olive oil in a small pan with the garlic and gently cook it for a minute or two without browning.

Put all the roasted vegetables in the bowl, saving the juices and discarding any thoroughly burnt skin. When cool, remove the pepper stems, skins and seeds. Chop the vegetables coarsely. In a food mill or processor, purée the
vegetables along with the minced chipotle and garlic; be sure to leave some texture. Add salt to taste.

At this point what you have is basically adobo sauce (about 4½ cups). As such, it makes an excellent accompaniment to grilled fish, chicken or pork chops, or a dipping sauce.

For soup, stir in 2 or more cups of chicken or vegetable stock; the lesser amount makes a thick potage, the greater
amount a thinner soup. Heat the soup and garnish each serving with chopped cilantro or oregano or sliced green
scallion tops. On a hot summer day this soup is refreshing at room temperature.

Makes 6–8 cups.