Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

My favorite soup at Paradise bakery has to be their roasted red pepper/tomato soup, by far.  Don't even try anything else there or you are going to miss out. Last week, when Costco had a great sale on bulk red peppers I figured it was the perfect time to knock this one off my list of soups I needed to learn to make. It came out really close to theirs (don't tell), so I was happy.

A few notes:
I didn't put in many red pepper flakes because I don't like this one too spicy, but you are welcome to throw in some more for good red pepper heat!

Some pureed soups are meant to be more smooth and creamy. This one lends itself better to a little more texture. I like it thick with a few chunks left, which is why an immersion blender worked great. Keep that in mind if you use a standing blender.

You can roast red peppers over an open flame (like a gas range or grill) or under the broiler. Since this recipe calls for so many, I suggest the broiler...unless, of course, you are a pyromaniac and can't give up an opportunity to play with fire. You can try the canned version of roasted red peppers but I can't imagine it being the same.
Make sure you get the skins very blistered and black like this.  I should have even let these go a few more minutes longer. Scraping off the skins can get a little messy but well worth the effort.

My wonderful artistic roommate Susan once captured one of my favorite cooking pictures of all time after I had roasted a red pepper...

Roasted Red Pepper Soup
8-10 red bell peppers
8 cloves of garlic, in the peel
1 chopped onion (about 2 cups)
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP thyme leaves or 2 fresh sprigs
2 bay leaves
4 cups broth or stock
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
sour cream or plain yogurt for garnish

Set oven to broil.  Cut the bell peppers into 4 flat sections, removing all seeds and membranes. Place them, skin up, on a foiled lined baking sheet along with the garlic cloves. Place baking sheet on most top rack and broil the red peppers until the skin is ALL blistered and charred. Remove them from the oven and place in a large ziploc bag. Close the bag and let them steam for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, saute the onion, thyme, bay leaves in oil in a large soup pot until the onions are soft. Add the broth, stewed tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cut off the end of garlic and squeeze it out of the peel into the soup.
Remove the outer peel of the peppers by scraping with a knife to reveal the soft undersides. Chop those and add to the soup. Simmer all together for another 20 min. Remove bay leaves and sprigs. Use an immersion blender and blend together. Taste. add more salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with a swirl of sour cream or crunchy tortilla strips (paradise bakery style).
Serves 6

1 comment:

  1. Ok, this really looks yummy! I'll for sure have to try this out. And I just saw that red peppers are on sale at Safeway! Yeah!