Saturday, November 29, 2008

Roasted Red Pepper and Root Vegetable Soup


This being Fall, now is the time to be busting out soups. This one is basically a combination of a couple soups I've done in the past, one about a year ago, based on a recipe for butternut squash and apple soup from The Inn at Little Washington, the other one a roasted red pepper soup I made last week.

Ingredients:

3 or 4 red bell peppers
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
1 carrot, diced
1 parsnip, diced
Half of 1 celery root, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream or half & half
Fresh thyme, tarragon and chives
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Butter and olive oil

We start by roasting up the peppers:


Roasting peppers is pretty easy. Pre-heat your oven to 425F, place the peppers in a baking dish or otherwise oven proof container, drizzle them with a little olive oil, and in they go. You'll want to turn them every fifteen minutes or so, until they're evenly charred on all sides. Once they're done, place them in a paper bag and seal tightly. The steam produced will loosen the charred skins and make the peppers much easier to peel. I used two peppers this time around, which ultimately didn't give the soup a very peppery flavor, so I'd suggest roasting three, if not four, of them. Once the peppers have steamed in their bag for fifteen or twenty minutes, peel off the skins, remove the seeds under cold running water and set aside. Next, spread the potato, carrot, parsnip and celery root out on a baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil:


Roast these at 400F until they've just begun to caramelize (they'll also shrink a bit):


While the vegetables are roasting, heat 1 Tbsp each of oilve oil and butter in a large saute pan over high heat. Once the oil and butter are almost to the point of smoking, add the onion and back the heat down to medium. Saute until the onions are translucent, then transfer to a large sauce pan or stock pot, and add the chicken stock (if you don't have chicken stock on hand, low sodium chicken broth will work; Trader Joe's and Pacific brands are good choices).

Add the root vegetables, along with the peeled and seeded peppers, to the pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 30 minutes. In the last five minutes, add the paprika, cayenne and herbs (I used about ten sprigs of thyme and four of tarragon, minus the stems, and an equivalent amount of chives, chopped; reserve some of the chives for garnish):


Puree this in a food processor or blender, or puree it right in the pan with a stick blender (Don't have a stick blender? Get one!). Add the cream - or half & half, if your waistline, like mine, is running away from you - along with the salt and pepper and continue to puree. Serve with some crusty bread, and enjoy!

6 comments:

Abby J said...

Anytime you want to invite me over and cook for me - I mean cook WITH me - just let me know!

tommy said...

Anytime you want, chica... long as you're in town, that is. I can always use me a sous!

Julie Ann said...

Oh my gosh, you just changed my culinary life! I never knew about this use of a stick blender. The second you mentioned this, my brain went to the Braun Multiquick I got in the marriage. I called to my husband, who revealed that the stick blender attachment was still in the box! I have been disregarding pureed soup recipes for too long, but no more!

tommy said...

Oh, yeah. Stick blenders rock. They're great for making hummous and pesto as well. Mashed potatoes, however, not so much.

Abby J said...

I'm told I'm a fairly good one, too. I made some delicious creamy polenta the other night. You would have been proud!

tommy said...

Nothing turns me into Homer Simpson like polenta...