I developed this recipe to pair with my Crab & Lemon Goat Cheese Panini, which together makes a lovely lunch or casual dinner. The soup can also be served as a starter with many different dishes, such as a simple roast chicken, a Spanish frittata, savory pie, or empanadas. The harissa yogurt is optional, but adds both a nice spice and creamy coolness. Harissa, once a little-known Middle Eastern pepper paste, is now easily found on grocery store shelves.
Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup with Harissa Yogurt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium sweet onion sliced
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 pounds tomatoes such as Romas
- ½ cup jarred piquillo peppers drained and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon harissa
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- Turn on your broiler and position the rack 8-10 inches from the heat. Place your tomatoes on a baking sheet along with the garlic cloves, unpeeled, and roast until charred, a few minutes per side. Watch the garlic carefully and move it to a spot on the baking sheet with more indirect heat if it becomes browned too quickly. Remove from the oven and when cool enough to handle, slip the skins from the tomatoes, remove the core and chop, and peel the garlic.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and a teaspoon of salt and cook until softened, 10-12 minutes. Add the cumin, thyme and paprika and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Dump in the tomatoes and any juices, peppers and garlic cloves and chicken broth. Cook over medium heat at a simmer for 20 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender. Be very careful when blending hot liquids. Hold a dishtowel firmly over top of the blender, or wait for it to cool down, or else it could explode. Let it blend until very smooth, then return to the pot. You may need to do this in two batches, depending on your blender size.
- Keep the soup warm, tasting for seasoning and adding more salt and pepper if needed.
- In a small bowl, mix the yogurt and harissa and a pinch of salt. When ready to serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with a dollop of the yogurt harissa.