Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Roasted Peppers and Roasted Pepper Soup

Roasting peppers at home is not difficult, and it's a great way to preserve peak-season produce.  Use them right away in sandwiches, pizza, pasta dishes, or soup (see below), or freeze them for later.  Either way, you'll be glad you did!

This is a lovely soup I've made many times.  It can be served hot or chilled.

from The Big Book of Appetizers by Meredith Deeds and Carla Snyder

serves 4

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup white wine
6 bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, plus more as needed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
optional garnish:
Handful basil leaves
1/2 cup creme fraiche, plain yogurt, or sour cream

To roast peppers:
Cut peppers in half and remove seeds, ribs and core.  If you have a gas stove, you can roast your peppers on the stovetop over the open flame.  Hold them with tongs, and turn frequently, until the skins are blistered and dark all over.  You can also use your broiler: place peppers cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet about 4 inches from the heat and broil for 8-10 minutes, or until skins are evenly blistered and dark.

Next, place blistered peppers in a large bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.  Let it sit for 15 minutes, or until the pepper-halves are cool enough to handle.  Then remove the plastic wrap and peel the peppers -- the skins will slide right off.  You may find it helpful to use a sharp knife to loosen the skin at the edges.

To make soup:
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat until very hot.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes.  Add the white wine and reduce until about 1/2 cup remains, about 4 minutes.  Add the peppers and stock, turn the heat down to medium, and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Purée the soup using a food processor, blender or immersion blender.  Serve hot, or chill and serve cold.  If soup is too thick after chilling, use a little extra stock to thin it.

To make garnish:
In a food processor, pulse creme fraiche, yogurt, or sour cream with basil leaves until basil is finely chopped.  Do not overprocess.  Dollop onto soup in bowls.

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