Thursday, January 31, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Our weather has been crazy lately. One day it is bitter cold. The next it is almost spring-like. Followed by temperatures that plunge back to freezing. It has rained. It has snowed. All in the past day or so. It is hard for the body to adjust to such fluctuations. 

Soup is great cold weather food.  It is just what is needed to comfort the body and soul during uncertain temperatures.

I love what roasting does to vegetables. It mellows their bite to sweetness while intensifying their flavors.  Feel free to be creative with your vegetable selections. If you have more or less of one ingredient it isn't a problem when making soup. After all cooking is an art. It is capable of many interpretations.

I used two red, one orange, and one yellow pepper. Use any combination you like, but I wouldn't use green peppers as they will make the soup bitter.

Carrots add a touch of sweet that off-set any bitter note the peppers might have.  Onions and garlic make everything taste better, especially when roasted.

Roast the garlic cloves in the peel.  Squeeze out the insides and discard the papery exterior before pureeing with the vegetables.

Puree the mixture in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Running the soup through a sieve removes the pepper skins that can make for a bitter after taste. The result is a soup with a velvety, smooth texture.

Roasted Pepper Soup

4 large peppers - red, orange, or yellow, but not green
1 large onion
3 medium carrots
4 large cloves of garlic - leave in the skin
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper
4 cups (1 liter) chicken or vegetable stock - preferably homemade
1/2 teaspoon *smoked spanish paprika or regular paprika
*ground chipotle pepper to taste (optional)

Preheat oven to 400℉  (200℃). Wash vegetables and cut into pieces that are roughly the same size, so they roast at the same rate. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet. Lightly coat with olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetable are very soft 30-40 minutes. Reduce oven temperature if they char too fast.

Allow vegetables to cool a few minutes. Squeeze garlic cloves from their skins then process with vegetables in a food processor or blender until smooth. Run through a sieve and put in a medium saucepan. Add stock, paprika, and chipotle pepper if using, and simmer on low for ten minutes. Add salt and black pepper to taste.  Garish with sour cream, greek yogurt or cream if desired.

*smoked spanish paprika and ground chipotle pepper can be found at Penzeys Spices.

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