As someone who often has company Shabbat lunch, I feel the need to make the appetizer course a bit of a feature. There was my mother’s go-to; Gefilte fish – and though I’m a big fan, far too many of my guest’s aren’t. On the other hand my husband grew up on chopped liver and egg salad served with the ubiquitous matza cracker lodged inside the liver, again my husband is a fan, but fewer and fewer of my guests find it appealing. On the other hand what is working out really well as an appetizer with my family and friends is an area of small salads and fresh bread, things to pick at and dip into, and yet sometimes, a meal needs that extra structure. Be it the guests or perhaps the occasion that warrants it. At times like that my go-to is this incredibly delicious and surprising cold pepper soup. Far lighter than a red pepper soup and much more savory. It never fails to kick off the meal perfectly and the vegetable toppers I pass down the table help to break up the formality of the meal.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 2 sticks celery, finely diced
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 6 yellow or orange (or a combination) peppers, cored and cut into chunks
- (5 cups) vegetable stock
- Salt to taste
- Finely diced cucumber
- Finely sliced green onions (scallions)
- Finely chopped avocado
- Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat, once hot add the olive oil and heat until shimmering, add the onions, carrots, and celery and saute until soft, but not browned, about 10 minutes, string occasionally to ensure that the vegetables don’t catch on the bottom of the pot.
- Add the sweet potatoes and peppers to the pot along with the stock, the stock, bring to a boil, partially cover the pot with the lid and simmer for 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are soft. Stir, taste, and adjust seasoning
- In batches transfer soup to a blender and process on high until mixture is very smooth, pass the soup through a fine-mesh sieve. Refrigerate pureed and sieved soup until very cold 8 hours or up to two days.
- This soup is best served cold, just before serving, stir, taste, and adjust seasoning with salt. The cold soup will taste different from the warm soup and some of the salty taste will have dissipated in the cold soup.
- I love serving this soup with loads of potential additions, I place each vegetable and the croutons in their own bowls and then pass them along the table, everyone adds as many or as few additions as they like to their soup.