One of my favorite soups is roasted red bell pepper soup. Years ago, while working as a prep chef for a country club, we served this soup for special occasions. There rarely was ever any leftover and the Executive Chef refused to share his recipe so I could make it at home.
I recently discovered a roasted red bell pepper soup recipe at CDKitchen.com which sounded similar to the one made at the country club. I made a few minor changes and attempted to go from memory. I'm happy to report the soup turned out magnificently. In fact, my husband, who isn't too fond of red bell peppers, enjoyed the soup so much he went back for seconds!
To make roasted red bell pepper soup, you need to roast the peppers. This can be accomplished by broiling them in the oven or roasting on a grill. I chose the oven method, but need to let you know that roasting peppers in the oven generates substantial smoke, so be certain to turn on the exhaust fan.
DIRECTIONS FOR ROASTING RED BELL PEPPERS
Peppers can be roasted whole, but I cut them in half and remove the seeds. I find this method to be more efficient and less messy. Roast the peppers prior to making the soup. The entire process takes less than 20 minutes. The roasted red bell pepper soup recipe uses 4 whole peppers.
1. Turn oven to broil.
2. Wash and dry peppers. Slice in half and remove stems and seeds.
3. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat pepper halves with vegetable oil. It's important to use vegetable oil because of its high smoke point.
4. Arrange peppers on a baking sheet, skin side up.
5. Place on the highest rack in the oven and broil for 10 to 12 minutes, or until skin starts to bubble and turn brown.
6. Remove peppers and transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, making certain it is sealed all the way around. This provides steam which makes it easier to remove the skins. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
7. When peppers are cool, gently remove skins and chop peppers into bite-sized pieces.
ROASTED RED BELL PEPPER SOUP RECIPE
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
1 stick Unsalted Butter
1 small Vidalia Onion, chopped
2 medium Carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 stalks Celery, thinly sliced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
4 Red Bell Peppers, roasted, skin and seeds removed and loosely chopped
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1 cup Heavy Cream, warmed
8 fresh Basil leaves for garnish, thinly sliced (optional)
1. In a medium size pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté until soft.
2. Lower heat to medium. Add garlic and cook until vegetables are completely softened; approximately 10 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
3. Add the roasted red bell peppers and cook for another 10 minutes.
4. Add chicken stock, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
5. Puree vegetables using a hand blender, food processor, or blender. Return to cooking pot and remove from heat.
6. Heat heavy cream in microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, or until warm to the touch.
7. Add cream to soup and stir until incorporated.
8. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with basil leaves and cracked black pepper. Serve with rustic bread, if desired.