Cold and Tangy Red Pepper Soup
Thick and earthy and gorgeously burnt orange, this is a beautiful, refreshing, and satisfying soup. It has the taste of roasted red peppers times a thousand, without the work of roasting off the skins. And it has a real bang at the finish from the cayenne. Thanks to good friend Judy Irons for this great addition. Serve cold as a substantial first course to 4-6 people.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat, toss in the peppers and leeks and saute for a few minutes, then reduce heat and continue cooking until tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
When the vegetables are very tender, puree the soup in a blender, solids first. Return to the saucepan and cook at a low simmer for about 30 more minutes.
Pour in the buttermilk and season immediately with cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper to taste. Remember that you should overseason a little bit for cold soups. Chill at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with chives.