Roasted Red Pepper Soup

I had this at the Blue Boar in Midway years ago, and liked it so much that I started experimenting to recreate the flavor.  Its now a family favorite that I’m asked to make for the Christmas Eve jause and other special occasions.

Special tools:  Stick blender (no kitchen should be without one…)

1 medium onion, chopped
5+ garlic cloves mashed to paste
2 celery stalks chopped
8 whole red peppers, roasted, peeled with the seeds removed*
6 c. chicken stock
2 T tomato paste
bouquet garni of rosemary
1/4 tsp finely ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp butter
1/2 c. heavy cream

* I thought I should add that you remove the skin by roasting the whole peppers.  Canola oil all over, and then place on the BBQ or under the broiler, turning frequentlyl.  You want the skin to blister and blacken a little, not make charcoal.  When completely roasted on all sides, remove and place in a sealed container (a gallon size zip lock bag works well).  Allow to ‘sweat’ and cool enough to be handled.  Simply rub the skin off, and open up the pepper to remove the seeds.

In a 5 quart vessel, melt the butter over medium heat and introduce the onion and celery and cook until translucent.  Introduce the garlic and cook a couple of more minutes while stirring regularly.  Add the tomato paste and red peppers, stir and cook another five minutes.  Add the chicken stock and the bouquet garni (this simply means that the rosemary is tied in a pouch of cheesecloth, so you get the rosemary flavor, without have to pick the woody pieces out of your teeth ;-).  Add the pepper and salt.  Cook for 45-60 minutes, reducing heat slightly after about 15 minutes.Remove the bouquet garni and blend the soup smooth.  Adjust the seasonings, turn off the heat and add the cream.  Blend again until smooth.

Alternately, you can add the cream to individual servings, which gives you the opportunity to do a little expresso artistry (leaves, Christmas trees, etc…).  Basil leaves also make a nice garish.

(source: Andrew Piererer)

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