From Too Many Chefs -

May 16, 2005
UPDATED: Creamy Red Pepper Soup

Red Pepper Soup and Mixed Greens SaladSoup is my favorite food. You take a few vegetables, some onions, maybe a little oil, some water and some dairy at the end and you have a delicious and inexpensive meal that will feed half an army.

When I found myself in posession of a largish quantity of beautiful red peppers, it was natural that I'd think of a tureen filled with red pepper soup.

You could roast the peppers here, but its not necessary. The flavor would be more pronounced, but there's a lot of flavor in this soup already. If you like sweet vegetable soups with relatively low calories this is the soup for you.

We had friends over (my wife and her husband are training for the marathon (they hope) by running a few miles twice a week), and I served this soup with a big bowl of dandelion green, romaine, and baby spinach salad with cherry tomatoes and balsamic viniagrette, and a side of roasted corn on the cob with chili powder, lime, and black pepper. It was well received and matched nicely with a bottle of Big Fire - the Oregon Pinot Noir I've written about before.

If you add less stock to the soup, I would bet it makes a pretty good sauce for pasta or roasted eggplant or something similar. Have you had a red pepper lasagna before?

Red Pepper Soup

Five red bell peppers, seeded and diced
Six plum tomatoes, chopped
1 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 quart vegetable stock
1 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper as required
1/2 pint heavy cream

Heat the oil in a stockpot. Add the garlic and onions when the oil is hot and stir to coat.

When onions are turning transluscent, add red peppers and tomatoes. Cook over medium-high heat for five minutes. Add stock and stir well.

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, add cayenne, add salt and pepper and cover.

Cook for twenty to thirty minutes, add tarragon, and blend. Add the cream and basil and stir into soup.

Serve hot or cold with appropriate sides. Reduce before adding cream or roast peppers before cooking to intensify the sweet pepper flavor in this soup.

UPDATE: I forgot to reveal the basil in the recipe. Also, one of our dining companions rightfully chides me for not mentioning the toasted slice of bread with garlic butter I floated on top of each of the bowls as noted in the comments below.

I hope there weren't any other secret ingredients I've left out, but if there were, you'll be the first to know.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at May 16, 2005 3:02 PM | TrackBack

Sounds very nice, Barrett, but to me it looks like it needs croutons of some sort. Anchovy croutons...? (Yes, yes, your wife has a blind spot about anchovies but you've got to get her over it one of these days!)

Posted by Meg in Paris on May 17, 2005 at 7:21 AM

You've just reminded me of the other component to the meal. I toasted some bread and spread butter mixed with chopped fresh garlic on top and then floated the slice on top of the soup.

You're absolutely right it wanted a crouton. A single BIG crouton.

Posted by barrett on May 17, 2005 at 8:42 AM

We are both a bit dopey lately, eh?

Posted by Meg in Paris on May 17, 2005 at 3:40 PM

I make this all the time, or at least an approximation of it. The tarragon is what really makes the soup stand out, imho.

Posted by paul on July 14, 2006 at 11:51 AM