Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

My last blog post showed how to preserve all those red peppers you may have harvested this year from your late-summer garden, by roasting them and jarring them in olive oil.

Today I’ll show you just how simple it is to make a robust soup from those peppers (which would make an excellent first course for Thanksgiving!).

Take the jarred peppers from the fridge and let them come up to room temperature, so the olive oil becomes liquid. Then remove the roasted peppers from the jar, leaving the oil behind. (The red-hued olive oil is tasty, and can be used as a dipping sauce for bread, or to flavor potatoes, salads, or any number of things.)

Place the peppers in a large pot and pour in chicken stock (vegetable or turkey stock would work well, too). For two small jars of peppers, I used about two quarts of stock:

a trippy photo of my stock and roasted peppers in the pot
(the glistening is from the olive oil that was on the peppers)

Bring the stock and peppers to a simmer, and then let cool down enough that you can blend them. I used a hand-held blender—the kind you stick into the pot and turn on. (Just make sure to keep it submerged, or you’ll have red splatter all over your kitchen and folks will think it’s a murder scene.) But you could also pour it into a regular blender, in batches.

Next, if (like me) you didn’t peel your peppers after roasting, you’ll need to strain the skins out:

Then pour the blended and strained soup back into your pot, reheat, and add whipping cream. I used about a pint:

looks like an alien planet

Here it is with the cream mixed in:

That’s it. Easy-peasy, no? Just season with salt and pepper to taste, serve with a dollop of yogurt and chopped chives, and voilĂ ! (See top photo.)

Friday, November 4, 2016

What To Do With a Peck of Peppers

If you were lucky enough to have planted a vegetable garden last summer, you may—like me—have an overabundance of red bell peppers sitting in your fridge right about now. Now, I love red peppers. That’s why I planted them. But there’s no way I’ll be able to eat them all before they go bad, no matter how many stir fries, fajitas, or Thai curries I prepare over the next few weeks. I therefore needed a way to preserve them.

halved and seeded and ready to bake

Red peppers are at their best when they’ve been roasted, so that was what I decided to do with this year’s harvest. I halved and seeded them, tossed them with olive oil, and laid them out on a roasting pan. (Place them on foil or parchment paper, because the burnt pepper pyuck is a pain to clean off the pan.)

I then roasted them in a hot oven (450° F) for about 20-25 minutes—rotating the pan as needed so they roasted evenly—until the skins were starting to blacken.

Here's a close-up: 

Make sure to keep an eye on them as they roast,
as they can go from light brown to black in no time!

As you can see, the peppers shrink some as they cook. Dump the peppers into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, to let the them steam. Once they had cooled, the skins should slide off easily. If not, you can scrape the meat off the skins with a butter knife. (Or, if you’re lazy like me, leave the skins on. They add more smoky flavor to the peppers, and will add fiber to your diet!)

I then placed them in glass jars and poured olive oil on top, enough to cover the peppers. They’ll keep for weeks in the refrigerator (though the olive oil will congeal and turn cloudy as it hardens).

I’m going to use the peppers for a roasted pepper soup this weekend. In my next post I’ll show you what I did, and give you the results.