Apr 7, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

    This picture at first glance may look like a standard bowl of tomato soup, but it's not.  This soup is a restaurant classic.  Most restaurants have or once had a roasted red pepper soup on the menu. This velvety soup if prepared from scratch can take a LOT of time. Recently, Cook's Country had an article about simplifying roasted red pepper soup and I jumped at the chance to make this elegant soup at home.
    First, the recipe calls for jarred roasted pepper that you rinse really well. That one step alone saved about 20 minutes off the classic soup recipe. Garlic and onion are sauteed in butter, which gives the soup a rich base and whole fresh herbs are used and then removed to save time mincing.
    If your looking for a great non-meat soup, try this one. This soup made a perfect lunch and would make a great first course for dinner. This soup might be a little on the light side for dinner alone, but paired with a salad, roll or fruit it makes a satisfying, quick dinner. 

Roasted Red Pepper Soup
adapted slightly from Cook's Country

2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic,  sliced
1 medium red onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
3 cups of jarred roasted red bell peppers, drained and rinsed
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 sprigs fresh thyme, (can use dried in a pinch)
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup cream, or less depending on taste
ground black pepper

Melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon slat and cook until beginning to brown about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook about 1 minute. Next add rinsed peppers, pepper flakes, thyme, broth and water and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer partially covered about 20 minutes until peppers are soft.

Remove the sprigs of fresh thyme if using and blend mixture, with an immersion blender or in batches in a standard blender,until smooth and creamy. Return smooth soup to saucepan over low heat and stir in cream and add salt and pepper to taste.
Add croutons when serving for additional flavor and crunch. 
We added a slice of Pepper Jack cheese to our bowl and topped it with some crushed corn chips. It was really wonderful. A dollop of goat cheese would be really good as well.

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