Sunday, March 14, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

2 pounds red peppers
1 large onion, cut into hunks
1/4 pound carrots cut into hunks, well washed but not peeled
3-4 celery stalks, cut into hunks
2 TBS olive oil
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp rosemary
1 TBS basil
salt and pepper
Sour cream for garnish

Roast the red peppers in the oven or on the grill (preferable), until the skins just turn brown. They should sweeten considerably. Allow them to steam in a brown paper bag for ten minutes. Then run under cold water and peel, core and deseed. A little charred flesh is okay it adds a nice smokey flavor.

In a large stockpot, put the onions, celery, and carrots with a little olive oil. Saute over low heat until the onions begin to caramelize. Add the peppers, basil, rosemary, salt, and pepper, and then add stock to cover the peppers plus 1". Simmer over low heat for roughly 30 minutes. Let stand to cool.

Get a fine strainer (sieve), another pot and a blender. Place the cooled peppers and stock into the blender and puree them. After all the solids have been liquified, pour through the fine sieve into the second pot. The sieve strains out any fibers from the celery, onions etc. (You absolutely want to do this I tried it once and it was not good.) You should use the bottom of a spoon to press the liquid out of the pulp in the sieve. Discard the pulp. It may take a few batches to get all the soup through.

Check the seasonings and adjust if necessary. Sometimes an extra bouillon cube is better than adding salt and pepper. The soup should be reheated to a simmer and held there for roughly 20 minutes, but NOT ALLOWED TO BOIL. The soup can be cooled and frozen or served.

To serve place in a low, wide brim bowl. Take a dollop of warm sour cream and place in the middle of the bowl. Then using a knife, "slice" through the sour cream and soup. this will give you a marbled pattern. Float a couple of croutons on top and finish with a small sprig of rosemary or a sprinkle of fresh basil which has been "chiffonaded" (rolled up leaves and then sliced.)

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