RECIPE: BELL PEPPER SOUP

IN MY RECIPE FOR ROASTED CORN SOUP, I MENTIONED A BASIC FORMULA FOR MAKING PURÉED SOUP OF ALMOST ANY VEGETABLE. HERE IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE, THIS TIME WITH BELL PEPPERS.

The ingredients are few: peppers, onion, garlic, sherry vinegar. SIMPLE COOKING REQUIRES BALANCE, SO SEASONING IS KEY HERE. (See my RECENT post for general tips on how to season.) -JRS

A basic rule: the better your ingredients, the better the final product. In this case, your peppers should taste good raw; if they do, they’ll taste good cooked. That stated, it is possible to cheat a little—if your peppers aren’t that extremely sweet, for example. More on that in a bit.

Peppers for days.

 

INGREDIENTS

– Bell peppers (red, orange, yellow), about a dozen
– 1 large red onion, sliced or diced (~ 3 cups, loosely packed)
– 5-6 cloves garlic, sliced
– 1/4 cup olive oil (you can omit if you prefer oil-free)
– Sherry vinegar
– Salt and pepper

PREP: PEPPER SOUP

Cut the sides away from the peppers, like so.

Tip: To cut peppers, hold them upright (as shown in the photo) and cut away the sides, from top to bottom. Saves you having to scoop out the core and cut off any white bits.

Cut the peppers into relatively thin slices. If you have a food processor, just blast ’em in there.

Pepper pieces, properly prepped and placed in a pretty pile.

Put these, the sliced onion, garlic and olive oil in a big pot over high heat. Add two or so cups of water to get things started. Finish with a good three- or four-finger pinch of salt (~1/2 tbsp).

Uncooked ingredients, adding water.

When the water starts to boil and steam, turn the heat down to low-medium, cover and let simmer for 25-30 minutes, checking and stirring occasionally. If it gets dry, add another cup of water.

The goal is to bring out the sweetness in the peppers and onion. The vegetables will also release their water content; every five minutes or so, taste some of the liquid. You should notice the sweet pepper flavour developing.

After some 30 minutes of cooking: The volume has reduced by a third or more.

When the ingredients have cooked down, remove the pot from the heat. You may need to add more water before pureeing. Blend using an immersion blender (or a regular blender, in batches). Strain the soup and return to the pot.

Time to season.

Add 1 tbsp of sherry vinegar. Stir and taste. You should be getting a balance of the sweet red peppers, some acidity from the vinegar, and taste the onion and garlic in the background. Depending on the peppers, the soup may need some extra sweetness; feel free to add some sugar, about a 1/2 tbsp at a time. As always, season, taste, think, and adjust until it’s to your liking.

Serve hot.

Tip: If you do have an immersion blender, you can use it to aerate the soup before serving; it adds a nice texture/mouthfeel. You can also use a whisk.

Bon appetit.