Chilled Red Bell Pepper and Habanero Soup

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors(yellow, orange,green, red,chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique,distinctively fruity flavor.

It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

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4 medium red bell peppers
2 lb tomatoes
1 sweet onion (1/2 lb), chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 to 6 fresh habanero chiles, finely chopped (2 to 3 Tbsp), stems and seeds discarded
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

Accompaniment: crackers, flatbread, or bread


Roast bell peppers on racks of gas burners over high heat (or on a broiler pan about 2 inches from broiler), turning with tongs, until skins are blackened, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand 20 minutes. Peel, then halve lengthwise, discarding stems and seeds.

Cut a shallow X in bottom of each tomato, then blanch tomatoes in simmering water 20 seconds and transfer to an ice bath. Peel and coarsely chop, reserving juices.

Cook onion, garlic, chiles, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in 2 Tbsp oil in a 3- to 4-qt heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and pale golden, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices, bell peppers, broth, and 1/4 tsp salt and simmer, covered, until peppers are tender, about 5 minutes.

Pureé soup in 2 or 3 batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids), drizzling remaining 1/4 cup oil into first batch with motor running.

Quick-chill soup in a metal bowl set in an ice bath, stirring often, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt.

Cooks’ note: Soup can be made 3 days ahead and chilled.

Serves 6.

Recipe by Ian Knauer, via