You might not immediately think that summer and soup go together, but give me a chance to explain. I’m declaring this a perfect soup for summer because it’s so easy to make, because the ingredients can all come from the pantry or freezer, and because it would be as good chilled as it is hot. This was a treasure I discovered in my recipe files. I keep physical files of magazine pages I’ve cut out over the years. All the pages are filed according to type of recipe like soup, cake, pasta, etc. It had been ages since I’d gone through them. A couple of times a year, I flip through the recipes to pull out ones that I’ve since tried from other sources and to find inspiration from ideas I’d forgotten. This soup was a long-overlooked gem, and it’s from the October 2012 issue of Food and Wine. In its original format it’s even easier than how I prepared it, but I’ve never met a recipe I couldn’t make more complicated. In the magazine, it was made with store-bought hummus. Instead, I used canned chickpeas, lemon, and garlic. But, what I realized is that this soup is ideal for the night you return from a trip or return from a day in the outdoors or return home after having so much summer fun you don’t want to cook anything difficult. It’s a puree of roasted red peppers from a jar, chickpeas from a can, lemon and garlic from the panty, and store-bought chicken stock. The toppings are chopped roasted red peppers, cooked rice, and optional sliced chicken from the freezer.
Piquillo peppers are suggested in the original recipe, but they’re not always easy to find. I used regular, jarred roasted red peppers. They were drained and all but one was added to the blender pitcher. The extra pepper was diced for topping the finished soup. I also rinsed and drained one can of chickpeas and added that to the blender pitcher as well. The juice of one lemon and three chopped cloves of garlic were added along with two cups of chicken stock, and the mixture was pureed. I prefer the blender for pureed soups for a smoother texture than a food processor would create. I had some Texas-grown, long-grain rice that I cooked while warming the soup puree. Salt and black pepper were added to the soup, and I added Espelette pepper for a little spice as well. I had some leftover grilled chicken from the freezer than I thawed and sliced for topping the soup.
I mentioned this would be a good cold soup, and I think that’s due to the lemon. In a cold version, some crab meat or pickled shrimp would make good topping options, although those would make this less pantry- and freezer-friendly. Still, however you top it, this soup is meant for summer.