I love this soup - it can be served cold or garnished with a few cooked baby shrimp or crab or a bit of goat cheese and croutons. From Cooking Fresh 2005.
Heat the olive oil in a 6 quart soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger and carrot and saute until very soft but not browned, 15-20 minutes.
Add the broth and turn the heat to high. Add the roasted peppers and any reserved juices along with the star anise, salt, pepper and cayenne. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Puree the soup in batches in a blender, with all the basil leaves going into the blender with the first batch. Puree each batch of soup for a least 1 minute. Combine all the pureed soup in one container, taste and add more salt and pepper to bring the flavors into balance. Serve with a drizzle of virgin olive oil and a splash of sherry vinegar, if desired. Makes about 4 1/2 cups of soup.
2 T. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 quart homemade or low-salt chicken broth
3 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded; juices reserved
1 whole star anise
1/2 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Small pinch cayenne pepper
6 fresh basil leaves