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Chilled Roasted Tomato Soup

Chilled Roasted Tomato Soup
T. Susan Chang for NPR /

This is a great solution for the too-many-tomatoes problem some of us have in mid-August. If you don't feel like firing up the grill just to make a soup, then grill the vegetables when you're grilling something else. You can hold them, peeled and covered, for a day or two in the fridge. The rest of the soup is easy.

Makes 4 servings

2 pounds ripe tomatoes

1 red bell pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1 onion, chopped medium

3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

Salt and pepper

Preheat a gas grill, or start some coals for a charcoal grill. While the grill is heating, cut a slice off the top and the bottom of the red pepper and reserve. Cut the pepper open; remove the membrane and seeds. Flatten the pepper into one wide strip as best you can.

Remove any tomato stems.

When the grill is hot, place the whole tomatoes and the pepper pieces, including the top and bottom, over the hottest part of the grate. Grill, turning frequently, until they're blackened and blistering on all sides. As they finish, transfer them carefully to a medium-size mixing bowl. Let them rest, covering the bowl with a lid or plate, for 15 minutes or until they're cool enough to handle.

While the tomato and pepper are cooling, place the oil, onion, garlic and a little salt to taste in a heavy pot. Turn the heat to low, cover and sweat for about 25 minutes. Stir a few times to keep them from browning. When they're done, the onions will be translucent and will have given off quite a bit of liquid.

While the onions are sweating, peel the tomato and pepper (discarding any remaining stems) and coarsely chop them. After the onions are done sweating, raise the heat, add the red vegetables and saute over high heat for 5 minutes. Add the stock and simmer an additional 5 minutes.

Using a blender set on high, puree the soup in batches and strain through a fine strainer or sieve, discarding any fibrous solids.

Chill at least 4 hours.

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