My grandmother, Nonnie, has a secret. She is a really good cook! For as long as I can remember, Nonnie and Grandpa have eaten almost every meal out in a restaurant. They say that with two people it is both cost and time effective to let someone else do the cooking. So, I never questioned it and always thought that Nonnie just didn't cook. I never spent much time contemplating if she didn't know how to cook or just didn't feel like doing dishes, and I half thought, "Good for her! A modern woman who refuses to be tied to the oven." But really, she's wonderful in the kitchen! (And spent a lot of her life there cooking for her kids.) She's been keeping this talent a secret from those of us who didn't know her 50 years ago, but the truth peeks out every once in awhile when she will whip up a delicious dish as though it is no sweat.
This soup is one of those dishes. When we were in Florida for Thanksgiving, Nonnie acted like there was going to be some casual lunch ready when the rest of us got home from taking Lily to the beach. Then we arrived home to this delicious, flavorful, perfect soup. I loved it enough to eat a second bowl on an 8o degree Florida day (and it might even be good enough to draw Lily out of her new favorite hiding place). I recreated it this past weekend and it was still as wonderful as I remembered. Yooooou tricky Nonnie! Now I'll be expecting mouthwatering homemade food at every visit!
Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream
8 roasted red peppers packed in oil (about 1 large jar), drained and roughly chopped 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 cup chopped onion 2 cloves minced garlic 1/4 cup tomato paste 1 cup sweet corn kernels, lightly roasted 6 cups vegetable stock 2 cups half and half 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 to 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Cilantro Lime Sour Cream, recipe follows
Saute the butter, onions, and garlic until soft in a heavy bottomed soup pot on medium-low heat. Add the red peppers, tomato paste, corn, and vegetable stock. Bring to a low boil, reduce the heat, and then simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the half and half, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Mix the cornstarch with a little cold water to get rid of any lumps and add it to the soup to thicken. Simmer 5 minutes. Let the soup cool slightly, and then blend in batches in a blender, or use an immersion blender to puree. Top with a dollop of Cilantro Lime Sour Cream. * When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.
Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream:
1 cup sour cream 1 lime, juiced 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh cilantro leaves
In a mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients vigorously until light and creamy.
Source: Nonnie, who adapted the recipe from Food Network