There are not a lot of dishes, outside of chocolate brownies, that entice Merelyn to scrape the bowl clean. The combination of this Roasted Red Pepper Soup and a grilled-cheese sandwich, however, is a sure-fire way to my wife eagerly polish off every drop and crumb on the plate.
Soups are a great recipe to make in large batches that can be canned or frozen for later. I am getting in the habit of making a few soups every couple of months to stock the fridge with easy, home-made, grab-and-go lunches for Merelyn to have during her busy day at work. Specialty soups like this one take a lot of one key ingredient to pull them off, so I usually look for sales at the market and make soups with the ingredients are cheapest.
This soup features roasted red bell peppers and little else. Due to the natural variation in the peppers, it can be somewhat mild or nicely spicy. If you are worried about it being too spicy, wait until the end of the recipe to taste test it before adding any hot sauce to it. You may not want it. I have made this soup with fire-roasted peppers off the grill and oven-roasted peppers cooked under the broiler. While I prefer the fire-roasting process better I really could not discern much of a flavor difference and the oven roasting was more even and controlled. Once roasted I drop the peppers in a plastic grocery bag and tie it shut for a good while, letting the peppers cool before trying to pull the skins off. The long resting period seems to make the process easier.
- 3 lbs Red Bell Peppers - halved, cleaned and roasted
- 4 cups Organic Vegetable Stock
- 1 half Yellow Onion - chopped
- 1 large Shallot - chopped
- 5 cloves garlic - roasted
- 4-5 sprigs of fresh Thyme (or 4 tsp dried thyme)
- 1-2 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar (or fresh lime juice)
- 2 tbs Red Curry Paste
- 1 tsp Hot Sauce (cooks choice)
- 1 tbs Olive Oil
- optional goat cheese crumbles
- Halve and clean the red peppers and lay them skin side down over a medium flame on a grill. Wrap garlic in foil and place on grill as well. When skin has blackened, remove from flame and seal in plastic bag. (If roasting in the oven, place flat in cookie sheet, skin side up, in middle rack under the broiler. Remove when skins have blackened). Set aside to cool.
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large stock pot. Once oil is hot add onions, shallots and thyme. Once onions have softened (10 minutes or so) add salt, pepper, red curry paste, garlic and vegetable stock. (Hot sauce can be added here as well unless you want to wait until the end to see if you need it).
- While bringing the broth to a boil, pull the roasted peppers out of the bag and remove the skins. They should have cooled enough to handle and the skins to come off relatively clean. Don't worry about perfection, the blender will take care of any skin you missed.
- Rough chop the peppers and add them to the broth. Cook over low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the sprigs of thyme before adding to the blender. It usually takes me a couple of batches in the blender to puree it all. Don't fill the blender too full and be sure to remove the plug from the lid and cover with a dish towel or you may have a huge mess. Blend as long as needed to achieve the desired texture. I like mine very smooth so I blend on low for a minute, then on high for another minute.
- Once all the soup has been blended, pour it back in the pot and return it to the oven over low heat for 10-15 minutes. Now is the time to taste test and add salt, pepper and hot sauce if needed. This is also when I add the vinegar or lime juice for a little acidity.
If making this at home for a large lunch or dinner I always pair it with grilled-cheese. The recipe differs but our favorite has been sharp cheddar, Muenster and goat cheese with caramelized onions. It has to be grilled to perfect crispness for dipping in the soup. There’s really no better way to enjoy this soup and it has become one of our favorites.