Looking for a simple but tasty soup for a meal or side? In the video above, Larry Banares, formerly of Sharp Grossmont Hospital, invites you into the kitchen as he shares the ingredients and techniques behind his signature savory soup.
Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Soup
Fire roasting the bell peppers over an open flame gives this savory soup a smoky, delicious flavor.
Yields 8 to 10 servings
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded
2 cups peeled eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/4 cup olive oil
2 ounces butter
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1 bay leaf
6 fresh basil leaves, minced
1/3 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 quart vegetable stock (low sodium preferred)
1 cup heavy cream
10 fresh chives, minced
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Basil Cream (optional)
1/4 cup unsweetened whipped cream
2 to 3 fresh basil leaves, minced
Salt and fresh ground pepper to season
Fire-roast whole red peppers over an open flame on a grill or burner until skin is well-charred and blistered. Cool and remove skin, stems and seeds. Dice roasted red pepper and reserve.
Lightly brush eggplant slices with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill until tender. Cool, dice and reserve. In a large pot, sauté onions, carrots and celery. Add fresh minced basil, bay leaf, curry powder and cumin. Continue to cook over medium heat until vegetables become caramelized and tender. Add diced roasted pepper and eggplant, and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes over low heat. Carefully puree with an immersion blender. Incorporate the cream and season with salt and pepper.
For the optional basil cream, fold minced basil into whipped cream, season with salt and pepper, and reserve.
Portion soup into warm soup bowls and garnish each with minced chives and, if desired, a dollop of basil cream.
Chef Larry left Sharp Grossmont Hospital in 2016.
This story was updated in June 2017.