Try this recipe for a refreshing soup that uses some of the best flavors of summer.
Gazpacho is a wonderful way to prepare some of our favorite summer vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes and red peppers. It is a cold soup with a history that stretches back to old world Spain. Traditionally it was made from a paste of bread, olive oil, garlic and vinegar. Tomatoes and peppers were added to the recipe after they were introduced from the New World.
I love the garden fresh flavor of this soup and the fact that I can easily grow many of the ingredients. Several of my friends have mentioned that gazpacho is too much like eating salsa with a spoon, which is a reason that I like this recipe. It is more of a vegetable broth than the chunky soup I have often encountered.
Serve this soup cold with a nice thick slice of crusty peasant bread. It truly is the taste of summer in a bowl.
Begin by coarsely chopping the tomatoes, removing the seeds as you go along.
Put the tomatoes in a large bowl and add the bell pepper, cucumbers, onion, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, cilantro, hot sauce and lemon juice. Cover the bowl and set aside at room temperature for about 1 hour. This will allow all the juices to release and combine.
Next, puree the vegetables in a food processor.Depending on the size of your processor, this may be best to do in two batches. As you are blending the vegetables, pour in some of the chicken broth through the ingredient spout on the lid of the food processor. The recipe calls for 1 cup of broth, but you may need to use as much as a cup and a half by the time you are through. You can also substitute water for the chicken broth.
Once the vegetables are pureed, the mixture needs to be strained into a bowl. This can be a bit messy, but worth the effort. It makes the difference between having a salsa and a broth.
Here is a trick that I use to strain the gazpacho. Line a colander with cheese cloth and set the colander over a medium to large sized bowl. When you finish processing a batch of the vegetables, transfer the mixture to the colander. Now you can either use the back of a spoon to press the liquid out of the mixture, or you can gather the puree up in the cheese cloth like a sachet and squeeze the broth out with your hands. I found squeezing the cheese cloth to be the easiest method.
When it is all said and done, you will have about 4 cups of gazpacho. Add salt and pepper to taste and place the gazpacho in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.
When you are ready to serve, top each portion with a bit of chopped tomato, onion, cucumber, bell pepper and cilantro.
Time to prepare: 25 minutes.
This recipe is vegetarian.