cubanelles

Versatile tomato soup

I love tomato soup, but tomato soup out of a can tastes more like corn syrup than like tomatoes to me. Here’s a version that can be adjusted according to both energy levels and ingredients:

The concept is tomatoes plus soup stock plus any flavor ingredients you prefer. 

Potential tomato varieties:

  • fresh tomatoes, especially really flavorful ones - slower cooking, a little bit of chopping, and more hands on time: cut in half and drizzle with olive oil and put into a broiler or an oven at 400 - 450 degrees Fahrenheit until they start turning brown and smell really aromatic; they should be really squishy when they come out (I highly recommend cutting some onions in half as well and adding some peeled garlic to the pan when you throw these in to roast; a mild pepper like a cubanelle is a good addition as well)
  • crushed tomatoes out of a can - lowest spoons: open the can and you’re set
  • flavored chopped tomatoes - requires running through the blender either before cooking or after: thinner and milder than crushed tomatoes, so you’ll want to add less liquid to the can (bouillon rather than soup stock is a good choice); the chopped tomatoes have a lot bigger chunks and you really need to run them through the blender to properly thicken it

Soup stock choices:

  • chicken stock 
  • chicken bouillon
  • vegetable stock
  • vegetable bouillon
  • Goya sazon powder

Optional add-ins:

  • onion - several different preparation options: throw into oven to roast alongside tomatoes; either cut up or buy pre-chopped from the frozen food section and saute before adding the wet ingredients; mix in onion powder or minced onions
  • garlic -  several different preparation options: throw into oven to roast alongside tomatoes; chop up fresh cloves and saute before adding the wet ingredients; saute minced garlic from a jar; mix in garlic powder or garlic salt
  • celery salt
  • dairy - cream, half and half, or even milk (milk is going to be a lot thinner and likely to be better mixed with bouillon cubes and skipping the wet soup stocks)
  • mild peppers like poblanos and cubanelles - throw into oven to roast alongside tomatoes
  • basil - you could mix in some dried basil, but throwing in some fresh basil after everything else has cooked and then throwing it all in a blender is preferable
  • oregano
  • whatever else you think sounds delicious in tomato soup

Instructions:

  1. Prepare your ingredients; if you are going to roast things yourself rather than getting them out of a can, the veggies go into the oven at 400-450 degrees with a bit of olive oil drizzled on top until they turn aromatic and brown
  2. Saute any aromatics you are using in a bit of oil
  3. Add in tomatoes and soup stock
  4. Mix in other ingredients to taste
  5. Optionally, throw the soup in a blender to make it nice and smooth

This recipe freezes really well. If you add less liquid, it can also make a good tomato sauce.

3

SOFRITO 



In my mind, every bangin pot of beans starts with a good sofrito. Nothing smells quite like it when it’s sizzling around in some oil, ready to pack some real flavor into whatever it’s combined with. It’s not just beans that sofrito goes in; meat, fish, veggies and rice also get taken up a level when sofrito goes in the pot.

Sofrito is a cooking base that is *essential* to Puerto Rican cuisine; every solid Puerto Rican home cook and chef either has it on hand in their fridge (or OG style…frozen in ice cube trays).

The beauty of sofrito is that you can make a big batch that will last you for tons of meals. You also can’t beat that all it takes to throw your sofrito together is a quick rough chop and blend on the ingredients. Bottom line… it’s definitely worth it if you’re going for that true Puerto Rican flavor. But before you get started on your sofrito, peep the notes below:

1) Freezing your sofrito in ice cube trays makes it easy to pop out a cube or two when you are getting your meal started.

2) Depending on where you live, culantro, cubanelle peppers and aji dulce may be hard to find. Unfortunately, there’s no real way to replace them. If you can’t find these, you can still blend the rest of the ingredients for a nice cooking base…won’t be a true sofrito, though.

3) Sofrito is NOT a sauce on its own; the flavors are super concentrated and must be cooked into a meal.

4) Olive oil in the recipe is simply to give your sofrito a smoother texture when blending.

5) It is *not* recommended that you season your sofrito. No salt necessary, as you should adjust the seasoning of your final dish that the sofrito goes in.

6) Never, EVER use tomato.

That’s it! Wepaaaaaaaaa  :)

INGREDIENTS:
18-25 cloves garlic, peeled (I tend to go overboard with the garlic because too much of it is never enough in my book)

2 Spanish onions, cut into large chunks

4-6 cubanelle peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into chunks

1 large bunch cilantro, washed and roughly chopped

8-15 ají dulce peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into chunks

4-6 leaves of culantro

1- 2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and roughly chopped

1-2 tablespoons of good olive oil

DIRECTIONS:
1) put onions and cubanelle peppers in workbowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until coarsely chopped.

2) keep the motor running and add the remaining ingredients one at a time and process until smooth. Transfer to ice cube trays and freeze or store in your refrigerator for immediate use.

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Tunisian Roasted Peppers Salad - Amina is Cooking

Ingredients: 750 gr cubanelle peppers ~ 750 gr chilli peppers ~ 2 tomatoes ~ 1 onion cut into chunks ~ 6 cloves of garlic ~ 1 tsp of dried coriander ~ salt and black pepper to taste