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Jen's Roasted Pepper Soup

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"I live on good soup, not on fine words."
-- Moliere

August is the beginning of Roasted Pepper Soup season. I learned to make this in Oly, where there is a stand at the Farmers' Market that begins to overflow with delicious peppers for this wonderful recipe from the Pacific Northwest (thank you, Jen Bator). I used to watch for that stand... hopefully I'll find another like it soon. The first soup is always hotter than I expect it to be & the flavour changes to sweet as the pepper selection changes.

Roasted Pepper Soup -- a late summer fall recipe for a creamy simple soup.

This recipe is really at its best with the Farmers' Market peppers. I have made this soup at other times of the year -- I've even lucked out once or twice with some really good organic peppers from the Big Chain, but they weren't local & I could taste it. The truth is that this soup should be made when your peppers are ready & simply looked forward to for the rest of the year.

ingredients

  • about a dozen peppers (more if they're small)
    I like to get a good deal of hot & sweet peppers to balance out the flavour (which is always a surprise). Jalapeños would be okay, but I wouldn't recommend habañeros -- unless you like to live on the edge. I like to balance the colors too & that's a lot easier to predict!
  • a big onion (sliced)
    I like Walla Walla Sweets, but get the sweetest ones at the market.
  • diced potatoes
    Get enough to balance out the heat/strength of the peppers you've chosen, & to thicken the soup a bit (you could thicken it with roux too if that's your style). I usually use 4 medium potatoes.
  • half & half, milk, cream
    Use whatever thickness combo you care for. If I've got a lot of milk & don't feel like walking up to the store for cream, I just use milk, say 3-4 cups. The cream (a good splosh added at the end) does however balance out the heat, which can be worthwhile.
  • stock of some sort
    I use about as much as milk. Play with the amounts & you'll figure out how you like it -- more stock: thin soup, more milk or half & half: creamy soup. More potatoes make it thicker too -- & milder.
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • seasonings to taste
    I use a little salt & a lotta pepper -- or nothing at all!
  • parmesan or other grated hard cheese
  • around 2 hours (45 minutes actual work time)
  • Serves 6-8

instructions

tip: If you're using hot peppers consider getting some latex gloves to protect your hands when you peel the peppers. Not only are the peppers gonna be hot, but some of them are also picante. I've seriously burned my fingers peeling hot peppers.


Generously coat peppers with olive oil, oil pan & roast at 375° for 15-20 minutes (some may take longer).

When you take them out, put them in a paper bag for a while because the moisture makes them easier to peel. They're also easier to peel when they've cooled down.

Peel peppers as best you can (careful your fingers!). To tell the truth, I don't worry too much about this step (sometimes I even skip it) -- I like the color flecks.


saute onion in butter till translucent

add stock & milk

boil potatoes in stock

put some more butter in (optional)

add peppers when they're ready


Adjust thickness by adding more milk or more stock/water (don't add cream till the end), maybe take the lid off... Make it how you like it.

Simmer it for a while to blend the flavours.


Now, be very careful on this step! You wanna blend it up (in a blender or food processor) to the consistency you want but do not burn yourself! (I usually burn my fingers picante-wise & I'm seriously considering using gloves.) You can leave a little bit of the soup unblended but this soup is really good creamy so usually I just blend it all.


Simmer it carefully for a little longer & add cream & parmesan. Mess with seasonings/thickness till you're ready to eat it (naturally the flavour will get stronger the next day).


Serve it with crackers, sour cream or yogurt, especially if it turns out hot. (I love it hot, I'm just trying to warn you. The peppers will cool down some with the roasting but my first batch this year was durn hot.)

This soup is good with a grilled cheeser to dip in it. Cools down the soup & livens up the sandwich. Great meal on a cold Fall day.



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