Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

I have said this before, but roasting vegetables is life changing.  Okay, maybe I have never said that, but I swear, if there is a vegetable you think you don't like, try roasting it.  I guarantee you will change your mind.  I never liked broccoli, but we always ate it boiled into a green mush.  I roasted some just last night with some salt, pepper, lemon juice and a sprinkling of parmesan, and it's glorious.  Roasting vegetables makes them a little sweeter, and can make any little old veggie the star of a dish.

Take, for example, the red pepper.  Sure, it's okay, but does anyone ever rave about red peppers?  Well, be prepared to.  These peppers get roasted until their skins are blistery and their insides are tender and smoky and sweet.  They then become the star of this soup, helped along by onions and garlic, and flavored with fresh thyme and smoked paprika.  It's super velvety and thick - so thick that it feels like a chowder, except it's totally dairy-free and gluten-free because it is thickened with potatoes!  I can't say enough great things about this soup, except please make it with some quesadillas to dip into it.  That was the suggestion in my Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook, and it was such a great idea.  I made beet quesadillas... stay tuned for that recipe next post!

Even if that sounds too weird for you, this soup is great for dipping but it's also great by itself.  I happily ate every last drop of it, and didn't even start to get sick of it when I was eating it for lunch and dinner.  So that's saying something!


roasted red pepper soup
from The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook by Kim O'Donnel
serves 4

3 medium-sized bell peppers
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 pound potatoes (about 3 medium-sized), peeled and quartered
1 - 2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 ounces bourbon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
lemon wedges (optional)


1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Remove and discard the stems and tops of the peppers and place on a baking sheet.  Roast until blistered and charred, 30 - 40 minutes.

2) Remove the peppers from the oven and place in a sealed bag or cover with a towel.  This helps remove the skins.  Wait 15 minutes.  With your hands or with the help of a paring knife, remove the seeds, veins, and skins, but do not rinse the peppers.  Chop coarsely and set aside.

3) In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil, then add the onion and garlic.  Cook until the onion is slightly softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes, thyme, water, and salt.  Bring to a lively simmer, then lower the heat, cover, and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 15 - 20 minutes.

4) Remove the thyme, add the peppers and bourbon (if using), and stir in the cayenne and smoked paprika.  Puree until smooth and free of lumps.  Taste for salt and adjust as needed.

5) Return soup to saucepan and reheat.  Serve hot, with lemon wedges if desired.

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